Taking cognisance of media reports alleging nexus of some politicians with gangsters in Punjab, Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh Saturday ordered an inquiry into the matter, promising stern action against anyone found to be so involved, even as he expressed full confidence in his colleagues.
This comes amidst an ongoing war of words between Jails Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leadership that has linked the murder of a former sarpanch with gangster Jaggu Bhagwanpura, alleging that the latter acted at the behest of Randhawa, who has since denied the allegations.
Amarinder has directed DGP Dinkar Gupta to inquire into the “allegations as made out from the documents and photos” that have been submitted to him and which “prove to the contrary” of the allegations made by opposition parties.
“The photographs show a notorious criminal, who has many cases pending against him and has links with a known gangster, with top Akali leaders, including SAD chief Sukhbir Badal, former minister Bikram Majithia and Union minister Harsimrat Badal,” an official spokesperson said
The CM made it clear that “no one encouraging unlawful activities in the state will be spared and stern action, whatever warranted as per law, shall be taken.”
“I have no doubt that none of my colleagues is involved in any such nefarious activities,” Amarinder further said.
Terming Amarinder’s statement as “misleading and mischievous”, Majithia said instead of DGP, the inquiry should be marked to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
Again accusing Randhawa of having links with Bhagwanpuria, Majithia said, “I welcome CM ordering investigation into minister-police-gangsters nexus.”
Meanwhile, claiming that no action has been taken even three weeks after Dalbir Singh Dhilwan was killed, the Akali workers led by Badal held a demonstration outside Batala SSP’s office.
Sukhbir demands CBI probe, will move HC
Badal too demanded a CBI inquiry into the murder case for which he said his party would move the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
Dhilwan’s son Attinderpal Singh too demanded a CBI inquiry into his father’s murder, saying the local police were acting under pressure and a fair probe would be possible only by an independent agency. Badal and Attinderpal also questioned the working of the police, which has not been able to arrest the main accused in the case so far.
Dhilwan, 51, was allegedly shot dead by his neighbour Balwinder Singh and his two sons Major Singh and Mandeep Singh at his native village Dhilwan in Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur district on November 18. The accused had pumped six bullets into Dhilwan who was a two-time village head and also the vice president of Batala unit of the Akali Dal.
Addressing party workers outside SSP’s office, Badal said his party would form government in 2022 and would “set up a SIT to inquire into the role of all those who sheltered Congress goons responsible for murdering Dhilwan, including Randhawa and SSP Opinderjit Ghuman”.
“The SSP worked overtime to justify that the murder was not part of a political vendetta unleashed by Randhawa and had refused to register a complaint in the case as per the statement of the victim’s family,” Badal said.
The SAD president had earlier written to the National Human Right Commission (NHRC), alleging that Randhawa was behind the murder.
Majithia said the killers were not being apprehended as “they had been given a safe haven at the residence of the Jails minister in Chandigarh”. He said the Batala police was moving at a snail’s pace purposely while investigating the murder and had released a sketch of the main accused after 18 days of the crime.
“A full-fledged attempt is being made to derail the investigation by the Batala police, which is functioning as per the dictates of the Jails Minister,” he said
Majtihia termed Dhilwan’s death as a political murder saying its seeds were sown in 2004 when Randhawa’s turban was toppled when the sarpanch stopped him from indulging in booth capturing. He said Randhawa not only threatened Dhilwan’s father saying he had lost two sons and would now lose another but also got a false case registered against the family and ensured the arrest of 11 members.
Majtihia also alleged that Bhagwanpuria was being patronized by the Jails Minister and allowed free use of mobile phones in jail.
He said due to Randhawa’s support, Bahgawnpuria’s mother Harjeet Kaur was working as “de facto sarpanch of Bhagwanpur village”.
Randhawa says ready for probe, dares Badal to get Majithia probed
Randhawa, meanwhile, responding to the allegations said that he was ready for probe by any independent agency or a sitting judge of the High Court. He, however, challenged Badal to get the Majithia’s “complicity with the drug smugglers, patronage of gangsters and the sacrilege of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, probed within a fixed time frame”.
The minister also said that “the statements of Majithia amount to the pot calling the kettle black” and the present government was “bearing the brunt of lawless situation and mismanagement of the jails created during the previous regime”.
“The present government took revolutionary steps for reforming the jails department besides adopting the zero tolerance policy towards the gangster culture. During the 10 year tenure of the previous government, the incidents of jail violence increased whereas I have already sacked 10 jail officers and suspended 50 as part of measures to stop such incidents,”Randhawa said.