A day after the Punjab and Haryana high court issued notice to the state government in the Vineet Mahajan assault case, the Amritsar police claimed to have arrested three of the nine people involved in the brutal attack that left the city advocate and his younger brother grievously injured.
Regarding the suspected role of local bodies minister Anil Joshi in the attack, police commissioner Jatinder Singh Aulakh on Wednesady said, “Till now, we have not found involvement of Joshi in this case.
But I am not giving him a clean chit as his role is being verified.” Advocate Mahajan had blamed Joshi for “engineering” the May10 attack on him due to the ongoing court cases pursued by him against the minister.
However, Joshi has denied his involvement, while claiming that his name was being dragged to malign his image.
At a press conference, Aulakh said, “A total of nine persons were involved in the attack on the advocate Vineet Mahajan and we have arrested three of them. They have been identified as Ashok Kumar alias Ghocha, Raj Kumar and Pawan Kumar”.
Asked about the motive behind the attack, the commissioner said, “We have arrested the accused at around 12.30 pm. In the preliminary questioning, the accused have told us that they had personal rivalry with Mahajan. They claimed that the advocate had opposed their bail plea in the past that led to rivalry, but we are verifying the claim”.
However, as the media informed Aulakh that Mahajan mostly dealt in income tax cases, he said, “Give us some time”.
Asked as to why the press note issued by the police did not include the name of BJP councillor Prabhjit Rataul, who is close to Joshi and was named in the case, the commissioner said, “Rataul’s name figures under section 120 –B (criminal conspiracy) and it was by mistake that it was missing in the press note. You people can write his name”.
Though advocate Mahajan had alleged that Rataul was spotted at the place of attack, the police commissioner said, “The BJP councillor was not present at the place of attack.”
Asked if police have been working under political pressure, Aulakh said, “I can promise you that we are not working under any pressure. Whosoever is involved in this case will be arrested and we are not under any sort of pressure”.
When it was pointed out that most of the persons named by the police in this case belong to Amritsar North constituency represented by Anil Joshi, Aulakh said, “It does not affect us. They can be from any area but we will arrest them all.”
Seeking to confirm that there is no pressure on the police, he said, “It is said that accused Ghocha is a BJP worker, but I have still arrested him”. The six accused who are still at large are Tarsem Singh, Batau, Saaboo, Raman, Vicky and Vishal.
Advocate Vineet Mahajan and his brother Avneesh were brutally attacked by unidentified persons in the city on May 10. This led to strong protests by the Congress as well as the Amritsar Bar Association (ABA).
As the victim had accused Anil Joshi of masterminding the attack, the Congress leaders and the ABA have been demanding his arrest ever since.