A senior lawyer caused astonishment in Punjab & Haryana High Court Saturday with his allegation that Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar had abused an IAS officer for sharing information with him on the alleged Murthal gangrape case.
Anupam Gupta, the amicus curiae in the case, told the court that the CM “personally called up Mr Vijai Vardhan, pulled up and abused him for sharing information” with him.
Vardhan, Additional Chief Secretary Labour Department, Haryana, was one of two officials assisting the Parkash Singh committee on the administrative failures during the jat agitation. He, however, issued a statement denying the CM had ever spoken to him about the alleged Murthal incident. He also denied speaking to the amicus about it.
At a hearing in May on the Murthal case, the amicus had told the court that a member of the Prakash Singh panel had told him that Murthal dhaba owner Amrik Singh had deposed before the committee that “something shameful had happened at Murthal”. He did not name the member.
When allegations first surfaced in February that a number of women had been sexually assaulted at Murthal during the Jat agitation, the court, taking suo motu notice of reports, had asked the government to submit a report to it in the matter. Gupta was appointed amicus. The government constituted SIT has not yet been able to conclusively establish if such an incident took place, as no complainant has come forward.
Gupta’s outburst on Saturday came when the government stated that it would like to share a status report about the Jat agitation with the court, and only the court should decide whether to share it with the amicus.
Gupta took strong exception to this, and remarked that he had shared even personal information with the court in the interests of justice, while the government wanted to avoid him.
Pointing out that the Parkash Singh Committee’s report had been uploaded on its official website by the State Government, and Amrik Singh’s statement, voluntarily made before the committee, finds mention in the chapter relating to Sonepat, Vardhan said “it is extremely unfortunate” that such a statement had been attributed to him specially since the Chief Minister has never spoken to him about this matter.