Sangrur member of Parliament (MP) Bhagwant Mann, who was on his way to address a rally in Jhunir block of the district, got a traffic cop arrested as he used to harass a resident of his village for taking bribe. The villager used to go to Mansa for selling vegetables.
Mewa Singh, a resident of Satauj village, which is also Mann's native village, in Sangrur, used to visit Mansa for selling vegetables. He alleged that for the last few days, he was being harassed by Dharampal Singh, a traffic constable in the Mansa police.
"On Saturday, when I arrived, the constable asked me to pay him Rs 300 failing which he will charge me a penalty of `1,100. When I pleaded of having no money, he retorted how I will pay to a mechanic if my vehicle gets punctured on the way back to my home. I promised him that I will pay him the money the next day. Then I went back to my village," said Mewa Singh.
Mewa Singh informed Bhagwant Mann about the incident and Mann gave him three 100-rupee notes with identification marks on them as he wanted to catch the cop red-handed and with proof. On Sunday, while Bhagwant Mann was on his way to Jhunir to address a rally, Mewa Singh accompanied him. After Mann and his supporters reached near the residence of the deputy commissioner, Mansa, they found Dharampal Singh on duty.
Mann asked Mewa Singh to approach the traffic constable to pay him the promised bribe. As soon as Mewa Singh gave him the money, Mann came out of his car and enquired about the issue. Mann then informed senior police officers about the incident and demanded strict action against the accused.
Deputy superintendent of police (DSP) Rupinder Bhardwaj and stationhouse officer (SHO) city-2 Buta Singh Gill reached the spot and arrested the traffic constable after recovering the bribe money from his possession. "As we received information, we reached the spot and arrested the constable.
We also recovered the marked notes from him," said SHO Buta Singh. An FIR under the Prevention of Corruption Act has been registered against the constable. AAP MP Bhagwant Mann could not be contacted for his comments. When confronted, the traffic cop initially blamed the DTO Gurcharan Singh for the incident. But the DTO denied of his involvement in the case.
The harassment meted out to auto-rickshaw drivers and commuters is not a secret in Mansa. A few truck drivers had alleged in the past that the traffic police paste a sticker on the vehicles from which they had received the bribe and the vehicle would be immune to further checking by the traffic police. When the matter was brought to the notice of the SSP, he had denied the allegation.