Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday night stayed in ex-militant's house in Moga, kicking off a political row in poll-bound Punjab with Akali Dal and Congress accusing Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) of cozying up with the radicals.
Kejriwal, who is campaigning in Punjab ahead of February 4 assembly elections, secretly arrived in Moga on Saturday night after addressing a rally in Zira and retired for the night in the house of an acquitted Khalistan Commando Force (KCF) militant Gurinder Singh, top police sources said.
Gurinder Singh, native of Moga's Ghal Kalan village, is at present living in England. He gave his house on lease to his Canada-based friend Satnam Singh before leaving to England about six months back.
The ex-militant was allegedly a module of the KCF, which in 1997 had triggered a blast near a temple in Mandi Mustafa locality of Baghapurana of Moga district. The trial court had acquitted Gurinder in this case, according to police records.
Sources said Gurinder’s Canada-based friend Satnam received Kejriwal.
Moga station house officer Rajinderpal Singh confirmed that Kejriwal stayed in the house and left on Sunday morning.
Moga senior superintendent of police Gurpreet Singh Toor refused to comment.
"By staying overnight in the house of a former militant, Kejriwal has again proved that he is ready to cross any limit to capture power in Punjab," Sukhbir Singh Badal, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) chief said addressing a rally.
Sukhbir, who is also home minister, said AAP embracing radicals was a "dangerous signal for peace in Punjab."
Punjab Congress chief Capt Amarinder Singh said: "Kejriwal’s AAP is a dangerous mix of extreme left and right ideologies that could plunge Punjab back into terrorism."
However, AAP's Punjab affairs in-charge Sanjay Singh denied that Kejriwal stayed in the house of a former militant.
Already Kejriwal's move to reach out to Sikh radicals has raised hackles. In the first week of January, the AAP supremo had visited house of Akhand Kirtni Jatha, which is considered a political front of Babbar Khalsa International.
"Kejriwal had breakfast with Akhand Kirtni Jatha the political front of BKI, the biggest terrorist organisation… He had dinner with the three ‘jathedars’ appointed by the ‘Sarbat Khalsa’ that declared Khalistan," the SAD chief had said, the accusation AAP didn't refuted.
Sources say even Moga AAP candidate Ramesh Grover learnt about Kejriwal's stay until Sunday morning after which he went to meet him.
Police sources confirmed that the house is owned by Gurinder, who was an alleged module of the KCF. A case was registered against him at Baghapurana Police Station in 1997 under charges of murder and various sections of explosive act and arms act. He was also booked for hurting religious sentiments in 2008. But he was acquitted in both the cases.