Even as he appealed to gangsters still active in the state to shun the path of violence, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday rejected allegations of a fake encounter against Vicky Gounder and his associates, saying the families of the deceased gangsters were obviously reacting from a sense of grief.
While the death of the gangsters was not a cause for celebration, such criminals should realize that nobody was above the law, nor could they escape the law for long, said the Chief Minister in response to media queries at the Newspapers Photographic Exhibition (Newsscapes-5) prize distribution function, organised by Chandigarh Press Club, at Punjab Kala Bhawan here.
Captain Amarinder pointed out that since the Congress government took over, 47% of A category gangsters and 42% of B category had either surrendered or been arrested, as a result of the concerted police crackdown against them. Asserting that the police would continue to pursue the gangsters who were still at large in the state, the Chief Minister said these criminals should realize this was the end of the road for them and they could not evade the law any longer.
However, he made it clear that though the gangsters would have to meet their fate under the law, the government would, at the same time, make all efforts for their eventual rehabilitation.
To a question on allegations of a fake encounter by the families of Gounder and his aides, Captain Amarinder dismissed the charges as false.
In response to another question, the Chief Minister said that the cabinet expansion would be undertaken after the Ludhiana elections. The selection would once again be based on merit, he added.
On the death of DSP Jaitu during firing in the air at a students’ dharna this morning, the Chief Minister termed the incident as unfortunate and assured of a full investigation.
Captain Amarinder, who went around the exhibition organised in memory of former photo editor of The Tribune, Yog Joy, recalled his association with Joy, as well as his life-long contribution to the profession.
On the occasion, the Chief Minister also announced Rs.10 lakh cash contribution to the Press Club for the promotion of more such activities.