Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal Wednesday said the more the Congress government tried to suppress the SAD by employing vendetta politics, the more popular it would become. He asserted that the people had seen through the Congress game and would never forgive it for wasting five years politicising the sensitive issue of sacrilege.
Addressing a rally in support of party candidate Capt Harminder Singh here, Sukhbir said the SAD was not only fighting against the Congress party in Punjab but also the Central government and the AAP government of Delhi. “Attempts are being made to weaken the party as well as Sikh institutions. This conspiracy, however, won’t succeed. The people know that the Congress party is raking up the issue of sacrilege as well as registering a false case against Bikram Majithia to divert attention from its failures. They also know about the struggle the farmers had to wage against the Centre to get the three black laws repealed. They also know about the double game being played by AAP which is essentially anti-Punjab and anti-Punjabi,” he said.
Speaking about the false case registered against Majithia, the SAD president said the Congress government changed two DGPs and three Bureau of Investigation (BOI) directors to implement its vendetta against the SAD. He said eventually it was a DGP who was not even eligible for empanelment as a regular DGP who was given charge of the office as a quid pro quo to register the false case. He, however, made it clear the party would expose this false case both in the courts as well as publically.
“We will take this corrupt and vengeful government to task. All those who are working outside the ambit of the Constitution will have to answer for their omissions and commissions as per law,” he said.
He also announced that the SAD was steadfast in its commitment to maintaining peace and communal harmony and that even though conspiracies were afoot to destroy communal brotherhood in the state, the SAD would not allow this to happen. Both the AAP and Congress had seen the writing on the wall and had become desperate. “They realise that they both have come down to such a position that they will not be able to get five and 10 seats respectively. That is why they are now both trying to defame the SAD to uplift their political fortunes.”
Speaking about the constituency, Sukhbir said it was condemnable that no development work had been undertaken in the last five years of Congress rule. “We are committed to taking steps including construction of a ‘bundh’ to ensure there is no crop damage due to flooding. We will bring in quality education and healthcare to the area, including establishment of mega schools which will provide an integrated study model.” He also announced that the corrupt Congress legislator of the area would also be taken to task. The SAD president spoke on how the SAD-BSP alliance had promised to provide 33 per cent reservation to all students of government schools in colleges and universities. “We will also ensure free education to such students,” he said, adding that students would also be eligible for a Rs 5 lakh interest-free student loan.
Speaking about how the party understood the problems of farmers, the SAD president said the next alliance government would give a crop insurance cover of Rs 50,000 per acre to farmers. He said similarly, all farmers who did not have a tubewell connection would be given one.
The SAD president also paid homage to the elder Sahibzadas of Guru Gobind Singh on their martyrdom day and recalled the supreme sacrificed made by them to uphold Sikhism. The Students Organisation of India (SOI) workers led an impressive road show from Talwandi Chaudhrian to Sultanpur Lodhi rally pandal on the occasion. Later, Sukhbir paid obeisance at the historic Gurdwara Sri Ber Sahib and also visited noted environmentalist Sant Balbir Singh Seechewal.
In Chandigarh, the SAD on Wednesday accused the Congress government of using the ‘personal opinion’ of a police officer who was “related to former minister Bikram Majithia and had an axe to grind with him to register an FIR against the latter” and demanded that “inquiries done at the instance of Punjab and Haryana High Court subsequent to the report submitted by STF chief Harpreet Sidhu be made public”.
Addressing a press conference here, SAD spokesperson Parambans Singh Romana said Sidhu had made “an admission that he was related to Bikram Majithia and that he was not on speaking terms with Majithia’s family for fifteen years”. He said “despite this the fabricated FIR registered against Majithia had relied on the report of Sidhu which the latter himself admitted was an opinion and not an investigation. The officer has admitted that he based his report on the record of the Enforcement Directorate. If that is so, the ED was competent to file a challan against Majithia in the case had they found anything incriminating against him. They did not do so”.
Sidhu, when contacted, said, “I acted in an appropriate manner on the report of ED sent to me through the Punjab and Haryana High Court.”
In his report to the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Sidhu noted that he had conducted the inquiry entrusted by the court to him “in an impartial manner and on facts”. He added, “For the purpose of record, it is stated that I have cousin brothers named Arjun Singh Majithia & Gobind Singh Majithia, sons of late Jasjit Kaur (my maternal aunt) who are further ahead related to Bikram Singh Majithia. Jasjit Kaur passed away in the year 1987 and to the best of my knowledge, I have had no contact with her family for the last about 14 years.”
Romana also said that “the trial in the case which Sidhu was referring to – that is the Jagdish Bhola case – had ended in January 2019. Even convictions were done in the case with Bhola and one Jagjit Chahal being convicted even as third accused Bittu Aulakh was acquitted”. He said “Sidhu’s report stated that Bittu Aulakh was instrumental in making the accused persons meet Majithia”.
Romana said after Sidhu’s report, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had appointed a committee to go through the STF report. The report of that committee comprising the then ACS Home and the state DGP was also lying in a sealed cover in the High Court. This should also be made public. He said that the accused in the drugs case – Chahal and Aulakh — had also approached the High Court which ordered constitution of a three-member SIT of Inspector Generals of Police (IGs) to revisit all the cases and submit its report and had also directed the SIT to exonerate the accused if needed and add fresh accused if any had been left out.
Romana added, “The SIT filed 10 supplementary challans in the case and also submitted its final report. This should also be made public.”
Asserting that “the entire case against Majithia was fabricated”, Romana said “two DGPs were changed” and new DGP had broken all norms by ordering the registration of a case against Majithia. This is the first such instance when a DGP has given such an order. It is also the first time that a case is being re-investigated after it has been decided by the courts without taking any directions from a superior court. Referring to transfers of Bureau of Investigation directors and recently appointed director of BoI S K Asthana refusing to “indulge in any illegality”, Romana said that several conscientious police officers had refused to become party to this vendetta exercise.