Instead of taking responsibility for the murder of an ASI by a local Akali leader, Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, on Saturday, disowned the prime accused in the case, Ranjit Singh Rana, who was expelled as district SAD general secretary following his alleged involvement in the murder of the ASI Ravinder Pal Singh., by repeatedly saying that he did not know from where Rana came and how he was inducted in the party.
Badal, who visited the bereaved family of ASI Ravinder Pal Singh, who was killed by Rana on the GT Road near the Chheharta police station, said, "Rana was not even a full-time worker of the party. I don't know him. Neither I nor revenue minister Bikram Singh Majithia have ever seen him."
Answering a volley of questions on Rana, his entry into the SAD and his elevation to the post of general secretary, the chief minister said, "I don't know who brought him in the party."
When told by mediapersons that the district unit was responsible for inducting him as an office-bearer, Badal said, "They might be knowing about it. People join political parties and we cannot preempt what they do. Sometimes even some 'tainted' people can get a photograph clicked with me at some function, but that does not mean I am wrong."
Terming the incident as "very sad", the chief minister said the murder does not, in any away, reflect a general law and order failure in Punjab. "It is a very sad incident, but such incidents do take place. Haven't we witnessed the Mumbai terror attacks and the terrorist attack on Parliament? I cannot tell you how shocked we are over this incident. I have assured the family of all possible help. Whatever they ask will be given to them. It won't look good if I make any announcement here. I can only say that the ASI's family is like my own," said Badal, appealing to the media not to politicise the issue.
Earlier, Badal spent about 20 minutes with the ASI's daughter, Robanjeet Kaur, his mother and brother. He first met the family in a room where the media was not allowed. However, mediapersons were called inside a little while later.
Majithia, DGP Sumedh Singh Saini, ADGP HS Dhillon, cabinet minister Anil Joshi, chief parliamentary secretaries Inderbir Bolaria and Navjot Kaur Sidhu and various other SAD-BJP leaders were also present.
(For details read, tomorrow's print edition of Hindustantimes)