May 17, 2021 8:05:22 am
Amid reports of a vigilance probe against Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu, Punjab Jails Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa came out in the former’s support Sunday, calling the Vigilance Bureau a “caged parrot” that had been “misused” by successive governments in the state.
“What is new? Ever since the times of former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, who had got a vigilance case slapped against late Giani Zail Singh, the Vigilance Bureau has been misused.
Afterwards, Badal faced a case of disproportionate assets and later even Chief Minister Amarinder Singh was named accused in a case. The VB has been misused for political vendetta,” he said.
The minister appealed to Sidhu to appear before the VB, alongwith his aides. “He should…say he is willing to face a probe.”
Randhawa, who had submitted his resignation to the CM in a Cabinet meeting a few weeks ago over the botched investigation into the Kotkapura firing (which was rejected by Amarinder), also said that they did not expect justice from the Vigilance Bureau: “How will these officials deliver justice when they themselves saw witnesses turn hostile in Badals case and just watched as mute spectators?”
“In such a scenario, when we do not expect that justice will be delivered, we are ready to get arrested. We will go to jail. What are the jails for? We do not build jails for cattle,” he further said.
Asked whether they would go to jail even during their own party’s rule, he said, “Everything is possible.”
Expressing his support for Sidhu, Randhawa said, “I will be a rock by his side if he is clean. He should face a probe. I faced a probe when my own government inquired against me to check whether I had any liaison with gangster Jaggu Bhagwanpuria.”
Asked why he typed a resignation letter and handed it to the chief minister during a meeting, he said, “Congress is on the backfoot now for we have botched up the SIT investigation (into the Kotkapura case). People question us. The entire Congress is upset. That is why we hold meetings.”
He said he was not a CM aspirant. “I am just a soldier of the Congress. The Congress is in my blood. I am committed to Punjab and its people. If I feel someone is ditching Congress and damaging its future it pains me.”
The jails minister said he was confident that Sidhu would stick with Congress: “He swears upon his father that he will stay put with Congress. He would not go anywhere. But we should also treat him well.”
“When the chief minister was saying all along that he wanted Sidhu back in Cabinet, and wanted to give him the power department, why did he not say that Sidhu’s dealings in local bodies department were questionable? Why now?” he asked.
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