The minister, who had been instrumental in the elevation of Pardhan to the post of mayor in September last year being the SAD district affairs incharge, was on Thursday in Patiala to appear as the chief guest at the annual function of government college for girls.
“I don't want to comment on whether Pardhan is guilty or not. What I want to say is that politicians of the stature of the mayor should be booked under serious charges of murder only after carrying out preliminary investigation,” said Maluka.
He said that though it would not be correct to comment over the role of mayor, as the murder case was being probed by the special investigating team (SIT), booking a responsible person like the mayor based only on a first-hand account raised suspicion.
“Let us not make anybody the scapegoat for the sins of others. At least, Pardhan should have been given a chance to tell his version,” said the minister. Also, Maluka did not rule out the role of a few Patiala SAD leaders in raising the pitch against Pardhan to oust him from his office.
“The party high-command has gathered information from different sources and party chief Sukhbir Badal is aware of all this,” said the minister.
He said the party was in no hurry to appoint a new mayor. Meanwhile, the municipal corporation on Thursday received the hard copy of Pardhan's resignation through his personal assistant Gurjeet Singh. The resignation, signed and dated February 25, was submitted with corporation commissioner Gurlavleen Singh Sidhu.
Parampreet's family demands custody of children
Family of deceased Parampreet Kaur has demanded the custody her two children, currently staying with Harpreet's family. “We are apprehensive about the safety of the two kids in the house of Parampreet's in-laws. We suspect that Pardhan and his family may harm them -- Seerat, 7, and Ekam, 6. We demand that police shift the two children to our house,” said Parampreet's father Amarjeet Singh.
He said the SIT probe into the murder case was only a trick to bale out Pardhan from the crisis. “We do not hope for justice from the SIT. The government wants to save Pardhan and they are planning to give a different angle to the case through this probe,” said Amarjeet.
The bereaved family is really disturbed with the attitude of the police, as they have failed to arrest Pardhan. “This shows the malafide intentions of the police,” said family members, demanding deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal to order a CBI probe into the case. The family rubbished the statement of education minister Maluka, who defended Pardhan while he was in Patiala on Thursday. “Maluka must at least think once about the sentiments of parents who have lost a daughter to a murder by his party colleague,” Amarjeet lamented.