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"Punjab CM may face defamation case..." SAD refutes allegations levelled by Bhagwant Mann regarding Sukhvilas Resort

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Chandigarh (Punjab) | March 1, 2024 10:55:20 PM IST
A day after Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann levelled serious allegations against the Chief of Shiromani Akali Dal Sukhbir Singh Badal, accusing him of exploiting state resources for personal gain through the Sukhvilas resort project, the SAD has hit out at the CM, challenging him to prove his claims.

Terming the chief minister's allegations as a "pack of lies", SAD general secretary Parambans Singh Romana said on Friday that it is clear that these allegations have been levelled purely to 'divert attention from the manner in which the CM has backstabbed the farmers and their cause and are in line with the hit-and-run tactics adopted on various occasions when cornered'.

Asserting that each and every allegation of the chief minister was a "lie" and that he would have to face a defamation suit in case he did not apologise for the same, Parambans Romana said, "Mr. Bhagwant Mann's claims that a tailor made policy was made to extend tax incentives to Sukh Vilas and that the same were revoked when the resort was completed are a naked lie."

He further claimed that the truth of the matter was that the incentives were given under the investment policy of the Invest Punjab department and that the policy was in force even today.

Asserting that anyone establishing an industry in Punjab was eligible for these incentives, Romana said, "In fact, the current incentives are more than what Sukh Vilas received".

He also detailed that eight hotels and 56 industries had received incentives under this policy in Mohali alone, besides around 600 in the state.

He clarified that incentives for eco projects were also in force and had not been revoked.

"The incentives in the new Punjab Industrial and Business Development Policy framed by the AAP government had increased the SGST exemption from 75 per cent for ten years to 100 per cent for 15 years and electricity duty from 100 per cent for ten years to 100 per cent for 15 years. This shows the chief minister is either completely ignorant about state incentives as well as the state industrial policy or is a habitual liar. Instead of indulging in such skulduggery, the chief minister should tell why despite a sharp increase in incentives, investments in the state had come down under his tenure and capital worth Rs 2.5 lakh crore had migrated to other states, including Uttar Pradesh," Parambans Romana added.

Romana further said the chief minister's contention that incentives worth Rs 108 crore had been given to Sukh Vilas in ten years was a "canard".

"The chief minister claimed that an incentive of Rs 85.84 crore had been given to Sukh Vilas as a SGST/VAT refund. The actual figure is only Rs 4.29 crore. I challenge him to show receipts or the transfer of the Rs 85 crore refund to Metro Green, if any," he added.

The SAD leader also alleged that Bhagwant Mann had also lied about the luxury tax and annual licence fee incentive refunds received by Sukh Vilas.

"The Luxury Tax was abolished by the Union Government since July 2017. Against a licence fee incentive of Rs 11.44 crore claimed by the chief minister, Metro Green availed of an incentive of only Rs 79.90 lakh," he said.

Romana also debunked the chief minister's allegation that the road connecting the main hotel (Pocket A) to tents (Pocket B) was constructed using government funds and showed receipts proving this road had been paid for by Metro Greens.

"Rs 68.13 lakh had been paid to the Mandi Board for this purpose," he added.

Earlier on Thursday, Mann levelled serious allegations against the Badal family, accusing them of exploiting state resources for personal gain through the Sukhvilas resort project, claiming that policies were manipulated to waive off taxes amounting to Rs 108.7 crore, significantly harming the state's financial health.

Mann detailed how the previous SAD-BJP government introduced an eco-tourism policy in 2009, allegedly to benefit Sukhbir Singh Badal's luxury resort project on land that was originally a forest area.

He also accused the Badal family of using their political power to facilitate the construction of Sukhvilas, resulting in a substantial financial loss to the Punjab exchequer

The Chief Minister also highlighted how the resort benefitted from tax exemptions, including SGST, VAT, electricity duty, luxury tax, and annual licence fees, all of which were waived for a decade. (ANI)

 
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