Puducherry: Lieutenant Governor Iqbal Singh has been accused of helping facilitate a fake passport for India's alleged tax evader Hasan Ali Khan, who's now in judicial custody. Singh has denied the allegations. He told CNN-IBN that he has no plans of resigning.
Meanwhile, the state government has distanced itself from Iqbal Singh. Chief Minister V Vaithilingam has said the government had not allocated any land to the Lieutenant Governor to set up a medical college in Puducherry - accusing the opposition AIADMK of being behind that rumor.
V Vaithilingam said, "Actually we have not given any permission (land) to our LG family or LG trust. We have not allocated any piece of land to any institution. It is totally false. The AIDMAK knows we have not allotted any land. Purposely they are charging the government. We have not allocated any land. The AIADMK leadership in Puducherry knows it very well."
Iqbal Singh has denied knowing let alone helping Hasan Ali Khan to obtain a passport. He said that it was Amalendu Pandey, Secretary of All India Congress who had given him a letter regarding help for a passport. The letter stated that Hasan Ali Khan, the person in question, required a passport immediately as his brother was sick in a foreign land.
Singh said, "I went to the Home Minister as it was coming on a few channels some reports that I had given a letter for a needy person. He(the person in question) was in need as his brother was sick in a foreign land and this matter was given by Amalendu Pandey who was Secretary of All India Congress (Tiwari). It's the duty of an MP, when somebody comes to him with a need, to write to the minister. He gave a slip to me mentioning the slip number, passport number, etc. I gave this to my PA, who wrote a letter in accordance with the details of the slip, to I K Gujral, the Foreign Minister. The next day, the minister replied to my office, which I have not seen as yet. I came to know about it later when some confusion arouse in some news channels. My PA who checked the files, found the letter."
"It is not the duty of an MP to determine or find out the character of the man mentioned in the letter. If he was of a suspicious character, the ministry concerned should not have issued the passport. Now the MPs have become reluctant to forward such letters. I did not know who Hasan Ali Khan was." added Singh.
Singh has also rubbished rumours that the government has asked for his resignation after these allegations surfaced.
"Nobody has demanded my resignation and I have cleared the air giving right answers," said Singh.