Punjab police on Sunday registered an FIR against Bikram Singh, a resident of Dhanola, under non-bailable sections of the IPC for hurling a shoe in the direction of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal during a political conference on Independence Day.
He was booked under Sections 506 (criminal intimidation), 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty), 355 (assault or criminal force with intent to dishonor person), 353 (assault or criminal force with intent to deter public servant from his duty) and 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions) of the Indian Penal Code. Sections 332 and 353 are non-bailable.
On Friday, Bikram was booked under Sections 107/151 of CrPC, which are bailable, but the accused was sent to judicial remand till August 25. Congress spokesperson Sukhpal Singh Khaira tried to bail him out, alleging that the police and administration, under “political pressure from Badals”, deliberately did not grant him bail on Saturday.
DIG Ludhiana range G S Dhillon told The Indian Express, “An FIR has been registered on the complaint of sub-inspector Manjeet Singh, who took the accused from the spot. These sections have been applied because of the misbehaviour and grappling he did with the police at the time of the incident. The accused along with three accomplices will be produced in court.”
Sangrur MP from Aam Aadmi Party Bhagwant Mann refuted allegations of his involvement in the incident.
The DIG had issued a press statement saying that the other accused —- Mahinderpal Singh, Hardev Singh and Hardeep —- allegedly met Mann after the incident at Jarag village and called him up to update him.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Mann called the allegations baseless and the described the action as “high-handedness of the Punjab police and ruling Badals”.
“I was not even aware of the guy’s name (Bikram). It was only after his wife called me up (as an MP) for help that I got to know about it. I would seriously advise the Badals to stop the double standards and attempts to defame me,” Mann said.
Nisha, Bikram’s wife, said, “The police are claiming that my husband misbehaved with them and tore their uniforms. These all are cooked up stories and he has done no crime for which non-bailable sections should be applied on him.”
She added that Bikram was the convener of AAP Dhanola. “He used to work with AAP and was convener of the Dhanola circle but the committee was dismantled. We were in touch with Mann but only as workers of the party,” she said.
DIG Dhillon said that Mann will not be summoned for interrogation in the case. “The other accused have confessed that they were in touch with Mann but we are not going to summon him,” he said.
AAP, Cong question move
AAP MP Bhagwant Mann and Congress leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira accused SAD of adopting a ‘dictatorial attitude’ in the shoe hurling incident.
Asked by the media about the shoe-hurling incident, Badal had said, “Mere wallo sab nu maafi” (I have forgiven all). However, the accused Bikram Singh, was not granted bail on Saturday and non-bailable sections were slapped on him on Sunday.
Questioning the move, AAP MP Bhagwant Mann said, “I would like to question CM saab. Yeh kaisi maafi hai?”
“Instead of putting a man behind bars and harassing his family, the CM should ponder on why someone threw a jutti at him. He should think about what went so wrong that people have resorted to throwing shoes to show their anger. As far as my involvement is concerned, these are all tactics by Punjab police, working under pressure of the Badals to defame me. They cannot tolerate the growing list of my supporters,” said Mann.
Former Congress MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira said it was his personal stand to help the accused (get bail). “He is a poor man and it was just a symbolic protest. Senior leaders like Pratap Singh Bajwa have already condemned the incident but it was my personal stand to bail him out,” he said.
Both Mann and Khaira accused SAD of adopting double standards. “In April 2009, Jarnail Singh threw a shoe at Union minister P Chidambaram and it was Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) which honoured him. It is nothing more than high handedness of the Punjab police and the Badals,” said Khaira.
“SAD added fuel to fire when Jarnail Singh threw shoe at Chidambaram. The CM is adding political and personal colour to the episode,”said Mann.