August 12, 2020 1:23:21 am
The ongoing tussle between Partap Singh Bajwa and Amarinder Singh took a fresh turn Tuesday with the Rajya Sabha MP accusing state police chief of “complete abdication of professional integrity” in withdrawing his security cover even as Punjab chief minister hit back asking the disgruntled Congress leader to write to him or to the party leadership in Delhi if he had grudge against the government.
While Bajwa has opened a front against the Punjab government over recent hooch tragedy deaths, the latest face-off finds its genesis in the Amarinder dispensation’s move last week of withdrawing the state security given to the Rajya Sabha MP, saying he enjoys the central security cover and virtually faced no threat.
In a letter to Punjab DGP Dinkar Gupta Tuesday, Bajwa alleged that a “bogus threat assessment” report was prepared by the police to rule out any threat to him. “I am compelled to highlight your complete abdication of professional integrity and impartiality in the discharge of your duties as the DGP of Police, Punjab,” the parliamentarian said in the letter.
Bajwa said he was not writing the letter to seek restoration of police security. “However, I am concerned with the politicisation of threat assessment reports and allotment of security to protectees,” he wrote.
“ It is validated by intelligence reports (Central and state) that I have been under threat from anti-national and fundamentalist forces for the last four decades. I survived a bomb attack in 1990. Consequent to threat analysis by central agencies, I was provided with additional security in 2013 by the Centre in addition to being a protectee of the Punjab Police,” he said.
Bajwa, a former Punjab Congress chief, said he has been highlighting the “politico-police-drug nexus”, production and distribution of illicit liquor, under the alleged “state patronage” and rampant illegal mining in Punjab for the last few years. “That my threat perception stands confirmed and validated by several intelligence reports over the past few years, however, it is evident that due to political interference and manipulation, a bogus threat assessment report was prepared overnight by the Punjab Police to rule out any threat,” Bajwa wrote.
“Due to political interference you have withdrawn my security, contrary to all canons of propriety, independence and professional ethics and with utter disregard to established rules and regulations. The fallacious report prepared by your intelligence department is motivated by political malafide… you have sacrificed your independence at the altar of political expediency,” Bajwa said adding that the state police apparatus was “acting on the whims and fancies” of the CM.
He asked Gupta why police security cover given to former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal and Akali leader Bikram Singh Majithia were not withdrawn on the same grounds that they too have the central security cover.
Bajwa, in another letter to Chandigarh DGP Sanjay Baniwal, wrote that the CM and the DGP will be solely responsible for any harm caused to his family due to the withdrawal of security cover.
Meanwhile, in a statement, the Amarinder said Bajwa’s letters reflected his “frustration and desperation” and exposed his “shameless lies”.
Making it clear that it was his decision as home minister to withdraw the security cover, the chief minister said Bajwa’s personal attack on the DGP was not only “misplaced” but also against the culture and ethos of the Congress party, of which he is a senior member.
“If he does not have confidence in me or my government, why has he not approached the party high command all this time with his grouses? Does he have no faith even in them?” the CM asked.
The CM said Bajwa’s letter reflected the Rajya Sabha MP’s total frustration and desperation, and exposed his own shameless lies in the matter.
Amarinder said Bajwa was not the only person in Punjab whose security had been withdrawn since the outbreak of the Covid, which required cops to be diverted to pandemic duty. “As many as 6,500 personnel had been pulled out of personal security in the interest of the state,” he said, adding that only six of these came from Bajwa’s security.
The decision on the state security withdrawal was taken only after Bajwa got 25 personnel (plus two escort drivers and vehicle) from the CISF under the Z category security provided to him by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
Amarinder further said that Badals were being provided based on threat perception. “It was illogical to believe that a police force, which was providing security to leaders of an opposition party would withdraw police personnel from an MP of the ruling party unless without good cause,” he added.
“Even if Bajwa considers personal security as a prestige symbol, which seems to be the case, his ego should be satisfied by the fact that he has a security posse of more than 25 CISF personnel,” Amarinder said, adding that it was, in fact, the MHA that had, in 2019, decided that Bajwa no longer required Z security as there was “no specific input indicating any specific threat” to him.
If the MHA had received any new intel inputs after July last year, they had chosen not to share it with the state government, with whom they had not consulted before restoring Bajwa’s CISF security, he added.
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