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In what has set off another big political controversy in Punjab, Deputy Chief Minister Sukhjinder Randhawa’s son-in-law has been appointed as the state’s Additional Advocate General, prompting backlash from Opposition parties who alleged nepotism by the Congress in key government offices.

As per a notification issued on Monday, advocate Tarun Vir Singh Lehal has been appointed Additional Advocate General in the office of the Advocate General of Punjab on contractual basis till March 31, subject to renewal on an annual basis.

Defending the decision, Randhawa, also the state’s Home Minister, told News18 that Lehal’s appointment was legal. “The appointment has been made on recommendation of Advocate General Punjab. His enrolment number is P-1968/2008 and he has a practice record of more than 12 years with 500-odd cases pending in the High Court. It is a contractual appointment for less than six months, not a permanent job,” the minister said.

Opposition parties, however, raised allegations of nepotism against the Congress government. AAP leader Raghav Chadha took a dig at the party’s poll promise on jobs, saying it applies only to relatives of Congress leaders. “Congress is fulfilling its principal poll promise of “Har Ghar Naukri” but with minor modification. Recipients of these jobs are family members of Congress ministers & MLAs. Latest beneficiary is Dy CM Randhawa’s son in law. Channi is essentially carrying forward Captian’s legacy,” he tweeted.

The appointment comes at a time when Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu has been at loggerheads the party-led Punjab government over the appointment of APS Deol as the Advocate General. The two have clashed publicly over the legal fight in the 2015 sacrilege cases.

In a similar incident last year, the Punjab government had cleared the appointment of Gursher Singh, son-in-law of then revenue minister Gurpreet Kangar, as Excise and Taxation Inspector on compassionate grounds. The appointment had been cleared by the then CM Captain Amarinder Singh, triggering political backlash.

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