New Delhi:In yet another embarrassment for the Punjab government, a court in Mohali town on Saturday held Agriculture Minister Tota Singh guilty of misusing official machinery and sentenced him to a year's imprisonment.

The court also imposed a penalty of Rs 30,000 on Tota Singh, who was convicted of misusing the official car of the Punjab School Education Board.

The minister applied for bail in the vigilance court immediately after the verdict. Tota Singh, who was education minister (1997-2002) in the then Akali Dal government, was inducted as a cabinet minister in the Parkash Singh Badal government in March this year.

He had been booked and arrested by the Punjab vigilance department in June 2002 on charges of forgery and for having disproportionate assets.

His name had figured in a scam regarding the recruitment of clerks in the education department. He was arrested in 2002 too. The conviction and sentencing of Tota Singh is the second embarrassment for the Badal government in the last five weeks.

Then Cabinet Minister Jagir Kaur was convicted by a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) special court in Patiala town March 30. She was sentenced to five years rigorous imprisonment on counts of forcible abortion, wrongful confinement, abduction and criminal conspiracy in the mysterious death of her daughter Harpreet Kaur in April 2000.

However, she was absolved of the charges of murder of her daughter. Three others were also convicted in the case. Jagir Kaur was forced to resign as Punjab's minister for rural water supply and sanitation and defence services after her conviction and arrest.

(JPN/Agencies)

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