It was a day marked by hyperbole and over-reactions. The much-hyped “expose” promised by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) against Punjab revenue minister Bikram Singh Majithia turned out to be a banal show with party leaders repeating allegations already in the public domain. This, however, did not stop the SAD leadership from holding a counter press conference within hours of the AAP conference, to vehemently negate the allegations.
AAP’s national spokesperson Ashish Khetan had tweeted on Tuesday that there would be a big “expose” against Majithia on Wednesday. During the conference, Khetan released statements recorded by Maninder Singh (Bittu) Aulakh and Jagjit Singh Chahal before the enforcement directorate (ED). Both are accused in a multi-crore drug racket being investigated by the ED and are known to Majithia. The contents of the statements, part of court records, are already well known and the AAP had nothing new to offer. When pointed out, Khetan said the statements had been reported only in bits and the AAP was trying to paint the bigger picture.
“The ED and Punjab Police have failed to act against Majithia. Majithia’s mention was omitted from the statements of the accused recorded by Punjab Police. The ED has the statements but is helpless as it reports to Union finance minister Arun Jaitley, and Majithia had been in the forefront during Jaitley’s Lok Sabha election campaign in Amritsar. When the AAP forms government in Punjab it would send Majithia to jail. From now on, the countdown for Majithia has begun,” Khetan said.
Strongly denying the AAP’s allegations, SAD leader Maheshinder Singh Grewal said the AAP was indulging in dirty politics. “Arvind Kejriwal is used to lying and that is what his cronies in Punjab are doing. They kept saying that they would send Sheila Dixit to jail, but nothing happened,” Grewal said.
Accompanied by education minister and SAD general secretary Daljit Singh Cheema, Grewal said the charges levelled by the AAP are proof of bankruptcy of ideas of the party. “Every allegation has appeared in the media and heard by the court. Recycling the same by taking them out of the dustbin and trying to defame the SAD speaks of the deceitful behaviour of the AAP,’’ he said, adding, “Now it is up to the courts to decide the case.”
When asked if the AAP’s allegations were false and repetitive, why the SAD immediately had to retort to them, Grewal said, “Rebuttal to every lie is essential to ensuring that truth prevails. The AAP thinks that repeating a lie will turn it into truth.”
AAP, SAD slam Cong
Senior AAP leader Sanjay Singh said Punjab Congress chief Capt Amarinder Singh was “mixed up with the SAD as he had gone out of his way to defend Majithia and oppose a CBI probe against him. “Amarinder has admitted at a public function his close family ties with Majithia, who calls him uncle since childhood,” Sanjay Singh said. On the other hand, SAD’s Maheshinder Singh Grewal said the Congress was the AAP’s B-team. “The first set of allegations against Majithia were levelled when the Congress was in power at the Centre at the party’s behest. But they did not have the courage to take it further,” said Grewal.