Over 60 AAP leaders were on Monday taken into preventive custody after they tried to violate prohibitory orders during a protest against alleged mining scams in Chandigarh. Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) activists, led by MP and party’s Punjab unit chief Bhagwant Mann and Leader of Opposition in state Assembly Sukhpal Singh Khaira, were demonstrating demanding trials of corruption cases be done outside the state and investigation of mining scams be handed over to the CBI.
The protesters tried to jump barricades to reach outside the chief minister’s residence here for their demonstration and violated prohibitory orders imposed under section 144 in the area, police said. Police also used water cannons to disperse them near the MLAs hostel gate in the Tricity. About 60 protesters, including Mann, Khaira and MLA of AAP’s ally Lok Insaaf Party Simmerjit Singh Bains, were then rounded off and taken to Sector 17 police station in a police bus, the police said.
During the protest, Mann told reporters, “We demand investigation of corruption cases involving Ludhiana city centre and mining scams be handed over to the CBI for trial outside the state as a free and fair trial is impossible here… everyone is being given a clean chit.” Khaira said, “We want trial of these cases outside Punjab. We want truth must come out and justice should be done. If need be, AAP will fight these cases right up to the Supreme Court.”
Notably, Punjab Vigilance Bureau had filed a closure report in alleged over Rs 1,000 crore Ludhiana city centre scam in a court in Ludhiana last month. In another case, giving a clean chit to Punjab’s Cabinet minister Rana Gurjeet Singh, the Justice (retd) J S Narang Commission, probing allegations of irregularities in the sand mining auctions, had said there was no loss of revenue and the auction was carried out in a transparent manner through e-tendering process.
The chief minister had earlier ordered constitution of the one-man commission following allegations involving Rana Gurjeet in the sand mining auctions conducted by the Department of Mining in May.