Chandigarh: The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Sunday rejected the latest attempt of chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh to procure a clean chit for controversial Jails minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa by marking an inquiry into the gangster- politician nexus to the State DGP and said only a CBI inquiry or that by a sitting judge of the high court could uncover the patronage being given to criminals by the Jails minister.
In a statement here, SAD spokesman Dr Daljit Singh Cheema said “we feel the case against Sukhjinder Randhawa is an open and shut one. It has been conclusively proven that notorious gangsters like Jaggu Bhagwanpuria are not only having a field day in prison under his watch but that their extortion rackets are also flourishing from inside the jail compound. The minister himself has also recently batted for giving a clean chit to gangster Manpreet Manna in a cabinet meeting and has even chided the Muktsar SSP for calling Manna a gangster. What more evidence is needed in the case?” Dr Cheema questioned.
The SAD leader stated propriety demanded that Sukhjinder Randhawa resign immediately from the council of ministers to facilitate a free and fair inquiry into his links with gangsters as well as rampant corruption in the Jail department under his leadership. “However this inquiry should be conducted by the CBI or a sitting judge of the High court as the State DGP could not be expected to investigate allegations against the Jails minister and arrest him”.
Terming the claims of the chief minister of photographs emerging overnight of some questionable person with senior SAD leaders as audicious, Dr Cheema said the chief minister had only drawn a red herring to relieve pressure from the Jails minister and dull the clamour for his resignation. “This is against democratic principles. The Congress government should not indulge in a cover up exercise to exonerate the Jails minister without holding a fair inquiry against him. If the CM is really serious about breaking the gangster-politician nexus in the State he should proceed against Randhawa immediately instead of trying to give a clean chit to the Jails minister before the start of the inquiry”.
Dr Cheema said this was not the first time the chief minister had given a clean chit to a cabinet colleague. He said earlier Food and Civil Supplies minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu, whose name had cropped up in the Grand Manor Homes illegal CLU case, had also been given a clean chit by the chief minister and the DSP who had tried to probe the case professionally had been suspended. “Recently attempts have been made to find scapegoats in the Jails department also with action being initiated against few junior officials even as Randhawa, whose prima facia involvement with gangsters operating from inside jails has been establishment beyond doubt, has escaped action”.
Asking the chief minister not to compromise with law and order due to political exigencies, Dr Cheema said this could have dangerous repercussions. “Punjab is a border state. We cannot allow law of jungle to become a norm here. Anti-national elements are bound to take advantage of this. Capt Amarinder must show the political courage to strike against rotten apples in his own cabinet like Randhawa and others who even shamelessly propagate the benefits of imbibing opium in cabinet meetings”, the SAD leader added.