Channi, Sidhu meet amid differences over key appointments

Express News Service

CHANDIGARH:  Punjab Congress president Navjot Singh Sidhu on Monday launched yet another attack at his own government over the sacrilege and drug issue saying the ruling dispensation in the state will have to “choose between a compromised officer or the state Congress chief”. 

“The government lacked political will as a special leave petition had not been filed against the blanket bail granted to former DGP Sumedh Singh Saini, one of the main persons named in the Behbal Kalan police firing case,” he  said. 

He referred to Deputy CM and Home Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa’s statements against Amarinder Singh that his government did not arrested the then DGP. 

“There was a change in guard because some people had raised questions on why the government was not arresting Sumedh. Now, the same people are silent,” Sidhu said.

The Congress state chief again targeted the Advocate General APS Deol saying that the top law officer had ensured blanket bail to Sumedh and the state government had not filed an SLP against the bail yet. 

The Punjab and Haryana High Court had directed that the probe into the Kotkapura firing incident should be completed preferably within six months, he said.

“Today six months and one day have passed. Where is the chargesheet (in the matter),” Sidhu said.

He also asked why a special leave petition (SLP) has not been filed against the blanket bail given to former director general of police Sumedh Singh Saini, one of the accused in the firing incident.

“If that accused (Saini) has got a blanket bail, then how will the investigation be complete,” the Congress leader said and asked has any SLP been filed against the blanket bail.

The high court in April had quashed the probe by a Punjab Police special investigation team (SIT) into the 2015 Kotkapura firing at a gathering of Sikh demonstrators, who were protesting incidents of desecration of the Guru Granth Sahib in Faridkot in that year.

The court had quashed the probe by the SIT headed by the then IPS officer Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh.

He later took premature retirement.

Following the high court order, a new SIT was formed on May 7.

The new SIT was led by Additional Director General of Police L K Yadav to probe the Kotkapura firing incident.

Talking about the Kotkapura incident, he said that he was raising this issue after the passing of six months and one day, and also questioned the appointment of the state’s advocate general (AG), A P S Deol, and officiating director general of police (DGP) I P S Sahota.

“Again the glitch is your appointees. Whether you are (here) to give justice or stand with the guilty by becoming their shield. Is there any answer for this,” he asked in an apparent reference to the Charanjit Singh Channi government in the state.

“(Either) choose the compromised officers or the PPCC (Pradesh Congress Committee or state unit) chief,” Sidhu said, apparently targeting the current dispensation over its choice of AG and DGP.

In 2015, the state had witnessed incidents related to desecration of the Guru Granth Sahib and subsequent police firing on people protesting over the issue in Faridkot.

One incident of police firing had taken place at Kotkapura and the second was at Behbal Kalan in Faridkot.

On a special task force’s report on narcotics, the Punjab Congress president asked the state government that who stopped it from making the report public, and stressed on the need for “political will”.

“What is the worry,” he asked, adding that there was no restraint order from the court from making it public.

The Congress leader said, “Sidhu stands where he is. Those who have changed, they should clear their stand.”

He asserted that he appreciates when any good work is done by the state government and mentioned the lowering of fuel prices by it.

“Whether will be able to sustain it for five years,” he asked while pressing for a roadmap for filling state coffers.

(With PTI Inputs)