Chandigarh: Punjab cabinet Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu on Monday accused former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his family of having diverted state money to their family businesses. The Akali Dal rejected the claim.

Accusing the Badal family of large-scale corruption, Sidhu said there was no accountability of money in the previous regime.

“Punjab state income became the business of the Badals (family). It was directly taken away somewhere else. The income of the state was converted into a family business,” Sidhu told media here.

Justifying his allegations, Sidhu said: “I had categorically given the names of the companies. They had 50 buses (earlier). These became 650 (later)…….In tenders that were allotted, there was massive sub-letting of it. They gave it to their own relatives. One road tender was given three times. First road was made, then tiles were laid on it and then bitumen was put on it.”

“Whatever money came for any purpose, Badal saab and his son diverted to their own account as per their whims,” the cricketer-turned-politician said.

Sidhu’s allegations elicited an aggressive retort from the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).

Akali Dal leader and former Education Minister Daljit Singh Cheema reminded Navjot Sidhu that “he is a cabinet minister also, besides being a comedian, and that he should ask the state finance department about the whereabouts of various financial grants received from the Centre rather than trying to create a roadside tamasha about it.”

“I gave a reasonable and well thought out answer to the mindless allegations made by Sidhu against former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal yesterday (Sunday). Today, he held a press conference to ridicule me instead of trying to substantiate his allegations as was expected of him,” Cheema said.

Sidhu, who was a BJP MP from Amritsar from 2004 to 2014, had been at loggerheads with the ruling Badal family. The Akali Dal was in power in an alliance government with the BJP for a decade (2007-2017).