Chandigarh, October 29: The country’s richest woman, Savitri Jindal, was Tuesday inducted as a minister in the Haryana cabinet by Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.
This is the second time that she has become a minister in the Hooda government. She was earlier a minister of state in the 2005-09 Hooda government.
Ms. Jindal is a legislator from the ruling Congress from Hisar assembly constituency and is the mother of industrial tycoon and high-profile parliament member Naveen Jindal (Lok Sabha member from Kurukshetra).
She was listed by a leading business publication as the country’s richest woman as she lords over a multi-billion rupee steel and power sector empire and is the chairperson of the Jindal Group.
Her name also figures in the Top-100 richest people in the world.
Savitri Jindal’s industrialist-cum-politician husband O.P.Jindal, who too was a minister in the Hooda government, was killed when his private helicopter crashed near the Haryana-Uttar Pradesh border March 2005.
Ms. Jindal was sworn-in on Tuesday along with the other new minister, Aftab Ahmed, who is a legislator from Nuh assembly constituency in Mewat district and the only Muslim face in the Hooda ministry.
Two ministerial slots in the Hooda government were vacant ever since ministers O.P.Jain and Gopal Kanda resigned in June 2011 and August 2012 respectively, after their names figured in separate criminal cases.
The 90-member Haryana assembly goes to polls in October next year.
Earlier this year, Ms. Jindal was directed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court to vacate her government accommodation, which she had been occupying unauthorised.
She has been occupying a ministerial bungalow in Chandigarh’s upscale Sector 7, even though she ceased to be a minister in 2009.
The court said that eviction proceedings be started if she did not vacate the house. A penalty of Rs.89 lakh was also slapped on her for occupying the house.