Alleged proximity between revenue minister and Youth Akali Dal patron Bikram Singh Majithia, and Maninder Pal Johar alias Sunny, main accused in the assault on AIG SS Mand in Ludhiana on Monday night, has once again put the spotlight on political patronage offered to anti-social elements.
Close on the heels of the assault case, Johar and Majithia are now under fire from a US-based NRI, who claims to be the owner of the land on which stands The Hub, Johar's restaurant where the brawl took place. NRI Hardial Singh Hundal (38) said Johar and Majithia had grabbed the plot in 2008 and built the restaurant that was inaugurated in this year.
Hundal, who is settled in Seattle since 1990, told HT over the phone that his father lived in a house in a house where The Hub stands. "After my father died in 2005, the house remained locked. In 2008, Johar broke in and took over the property that is jointly owned by me and my brother Varinder Singh," said Hundal.
"I called up my sister Ranjana Sohi in Ludhiana and she gave a complaint to the then SSP. We complained to senior officers of the municipal corporation, too, but nothing has been done," he said, alleging that at the behest of Majithia and Johar, his sister had to face a false criminal case.
"I also called up Majithia and asked him to talk to Johar. But he just said the property belonged to Johar. Soon after, I got call from Johar, who offered me Rs. 5 crore for it; but I refused. Then he asked me not to enter Punjab, saying that he had spent lakhs to usurp my property and could pay another crore to get me killed," alleged Hundal.
HT received a copy of land revenue record where the Hundal brothers are mentioned as owners of the property.
However, Majithia, when contacted, said, "We expelled Sunny Johar from the Youth Akali Dal on May 29. He had wanted the ticket to fight MC polls, but upon denial started working against the party."
Speaking on the allegations leveled by Hundal, Majithia said, "There is no authenticity in what this NRI is saying as I have not visited this place even once. I don't know anything about the property. He should submit the record to the authorities and he will get justice."
PROXIMITY ON DISPLAY?
Despite the attempt to distance from Johar, Majithia has been seen with him at public gatherings in Ludhiana in the recent past, the latest being a memorial service at the house of CM's adviser Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal on December 24, hours before the AIG's assault. They were also together at a December 20 function organised by a close associate of CM Parkash Singh Badal.