Aroosa’s ‘ISI links’ to be probed, says Punjab Deputy CM Sukhjinder Randhawa; Captain hits back

Amarinder hit back on Friday, saying that as his cabinet colleague, he had never heard Randhawa complain about Aroosa.

Punjab Deputy CM Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa (left) and Captain Amarinder Singh traded charges on Twitter on Wednesday. (File Photos)

Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa tweeted on Friday evening that police will carry out an investigation into former Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh’s Pakistani journalist friend “Aroosa Alam and her ISI links”.

A bitter slugfest ensued on Twitter between the two senior leaders, and late on Friday evening, the media adviser to Amarinder Singh posted a picture that appeared to show Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Aroosa Alam shaking hands, along with the comment, “Just by the way. (File photo).”

Earlier in the evening, Randhawa had deleted a tweet in Punjabi in which he had said “orders to probe alleged connection of Aroosa Alam with Pakistani spy agency ISI have been issued”.

On Thursday, responding to a question from the media on whether Aroosa was an ISI agent, Randhawa had said in Jalandhar that he would ask the Director General of Police to look into “what relations Bibi ji (Aroosa) has [with ISI]”. Randhawa added that he would also ask the DGP to probe reports of drones coming from Pakistan during Amarinder’s time as chief minister.

Amarinder hit back on Friday, saying that as his cabinet colleague, he had never heard Randhawa complain about Aroosa. In tweets posted on his behalf by his media adviser Raveen Thukral, Amarinder said Aroosa had been “coming for 16 years with due GoI clearances”, and asked “Or are you alleging that both NDA and @INCIndia led UPA govts in this period connived with Pak ISI?”

“Instead of focusing on maintaining law & order at a time when terror threat is high and festivals are around the corner, you’ve put @DGPPunjabPolice on a baseless investigation at the cost of Punjab’s safety,” Amarinder said to Randhawa, whom he accused of “resorting to personal attacks”.

“One month after taking over this is all you have to show to the people. What happened to your tall promises on Bargari & drugs cases? Punjab is still waiting for your promised action,” Amarinder said.

Randhawa, who was in Delhi on Friday for a meeting with the senior leadership of the party, told reporters late in the evening, “No one has said [that an] inquiry [will be conducted].” Asserting that he was responding to a “general” query [in Jalandhar], Randhawa added that it was “fear of his (Captain’s) mind”, and that as a former CM, Amarinder should know that it was the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and not the state government that conducted inquiries involving foreign nationals. “Unko pata nahi darr kyon lag raha hai (I don’t know why he is afraid),” Randhawa said.

However, soon after, Randhawa put out four tweets, one of which read, “By the way, sir @capt_amarinder why are you so perturbed over probe on Aroosa and ISI links? Who sponsored her visa and everything concerning her will be thoroughly probed. I do hope everyone concerned will cooperate with police in probe.”

Subsequently, Amarinder told Randhawa, “…In fact, you seem to be perturbed and confused, if your flip flops are any indication. Why don’t you make up your mind on this so-called probe against Aroosa Alam?”

Amarinder said he had sponsored Aroosa’s visa for 16 years, requests for which were sent by the Indian High Commission to the Ministry of External Affairs, “which gets them cleared by RAW & IB before approving”. Amarinder also referred to “a detailed inquiry” conducted in 2007 by the NSA on the orders of the PM before granting visa to Aroosa.

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