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Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Kotkapura firing: Jakhar, Randhawa offer to resign, Captain declines

Amarinder Singh not only rejected the resignation letters but tore them during the stormy meeting held at Punjab Bhawan

Written by Kanchan Vasdev | Chandigarh |
April 27, 2021 7:51:25 am
Sunil Kumar Jakhar and Sukhjinder Randhawa

Citing the huge embarrassment caused to the government by the botched-up investigations into Kotkapura firing by the Special Investigation Team (SIT), PPCC chief Sunil Kumar Jakhar and Cabinet Minister Sukhjinder Randhawa are learnt to have handed their resignations to Chief Minister Amarinder Singh at a special meeting organised soon after the Cabinet meet on Monday.

Amarinder not only rejected the resignation letters but tore them during the stormy meeting held at Punjab Bhawan here. While Jakhar was carrying his resignation letter, Randhawa is learnt to have penned it during the meeting itself. “The CM tore both the resignations and rejected them,” said a source.

The CM had convened the special meeting to discuss the fallout of the High Court orders quashing the investigation into Kotkapura firing by an SIT led by former Punjab Police IG Kunwar Vijay Pratap. At the onset, the CM reportedly expressed his dismay at criticism of the government by a few members of the party. Without naming anyone, he is learnt to have said that some “outsiders” as well as “insiders” were hitting out at the government. Former Cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu has been openly criticising the government on the issue. Randhawa too lashed out at the government recently.

After the CM spoke, Jakhar is learnt to have told him that it was his prerogative to retain or sack anyone from the Cabinet. “For a moment the meeting saw heated exchanges. Things got so out of control that the CM had to say that anyone who had any problem could leave the meeting. Jakhar then took over and demanded that responsibility must be fixed for the investigation fiasco,” a source said.

Jakhar reportedly said the government should have taken action against the SIT members, who had refused to sign on the investigation report. He questioned why the lapses in the report, as pointed out by the HC, were not checked by those responsible. Jakhar also raised the issue of expensive power and Power Purchase Agreements. Later, he took out his resignation letter, and handed it over to the CM.

After Jakhar, Randhawa said the government had allowed Kunwar Vijay to get bigger than his shoes, and was now paying for it. He also handed over his resignation after writing it there itself.

Other ministers such as Charanjeet Singh Channi and Gurpreet Singh Kangar also joined the chorus with Channi calling the quashing of investigation a big blow, and Kangar complaining that SIT took four years but the net result was zero.

It is learnt that Advocate General Atul Nanda produced some letters by lawyers dealing with the case which accused Kunwar Vijay of botching up the investigation. He said he had brought the matter to the notice of the CM.

Nanda is also learnt to have produced a letter by a counsel stating that the police had agreed in front of the high court that they were ready to choose an option to quash the SIT.

MLAs meet today

The CM had scheduled a meeting with party MLAs on Tuesday. It remains to be seen if he goes ahead with it after the heated exchange on Monday.

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