At least six people sustained serious injuries when a Patiala-based hotelier,Gurdeep Singh Walia,and his relatives clashed with former city mayor Jaspal Singh Pardhan and his family at the latters residence on Sunday morning.
On February 26,Pardhan had resigned as mayor because of his alleged role in the murder of his daughter-in-law Parampreet Kaur,who had died under mysterious circumstances on February 23. However,during investigations,the Special Investigation Team had given him a clean chit.
According to the police,the incident took place around 11.30 am,when Walia owner of Hotel Sunrise accompanied by his parents,wife,children and supporters went to Pardhans residence.
Walia,who claimed to have paid Pardhan Rs 25 lakh for not demolishing Sunrise during his tenure as the mayor,had gone to get his money. This,after on orders of Divisional Commissioner G S Sidhu,partial demolition of Hotel Sunrise and a few other adjoining shops had been carried out. Since Pardhan could not save the demolition and the new mayor has now taken over,Walia was insisting on a refund.
When Walia and his supporters entered Pardhans residence,the latters relatives,including his nephew Ekjot Singh,son Preetinder Singh and a number of supporters,resisted. Following this,both groups attacked each other with iron rods and swords and,in the process,Pardhans residence was vandalised. An inspection by the police also indicated that a few gunshots had been fired.
While Walia and his brother Manjeet Singh were injured in the clash, Pardhan,Ekjot Singh and Preetinder Singh also sustained injuries. The injured have been admitted to Patialaa Rajindra Hospital. I have all the recordings establishing that I paid Rs 25 lakh to Jaspal. He had not returned the money for four months now. I have been in constant touch with him. Today morning,accompanied by my 95-year-old father and relatives,I first went to the police station and lodged a complaint against Jaspal. We also informed the police that we would go to his residence and request him for the money, Walia said.
He added: We went to his residence and sat on a dharna outside. Jaspals son Captain Preetinder Singh called me and Manjit inside. When we went in,we were mercilessly assaulted. I cannot see from one of my eyes. When my family tried to save us,they were also assaulted.
Preetinder,however,claimed: This is a fabricated story. If Walia had paid us any money,he should have gone to to the police or court. Should you barge into our house,threaten to kill us and start firing gunshots? We have already suffered because of concocted stories and this is also an example of that.
Walia and his supporters attacked Jaspal Singh and his family while he was having breakfast with his wife at his residence. The assailants were armed with swords and iron rods and also fired gunshots at us, said Happy,one of Pardhans relatives.
When contacted,Patiala SSP Gurpeet Singh Gill said: The matter is being investigated. Statements from both the sides have been recorded and cases will be registered,police said. A number of persons have also been detained for questioning.
A telephone conversation,allegedly containing the voice of Pardhans wife,has been submitted to the police by Walias associates. According to the recording,Pardhans wife was assuring Walia that his hotel will be exempted from demolition.
Meanwhile,Patiala Municipal Commissioner G S Sidhu has sought an explanation from a sub-divisional-officer who allegedly acted as a conduit between Pardhan and Walia in routing the bribe money of Rs 25 lakh.