The Punjab Congress on Thursday demanded the resignation of deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal as the state's home minister over ASI Ravinder Pal Singh's murder in Amritsar, expressing its dissatisfaction at the area SHO's dismissal and the ongoing inquiry into the incident.
District Akali leader Ranjit Singh Rana is the prime accused in the ASI murder case.
The ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) promptly fired a salvo in return, demanding the resignation of all Congress leaders who are facing criminal charges such as murder.
Earlier, the Congress, in a statement issued by former MLA Sukhpal Khaira, termed Chheharta SHO Ashwani Kumar's dismissal "a mere eyewash, an attempt to make him a scapegoat and divert attention from the gross failure of a highly politicised police force."
State Congress chief Capt Amarinder Singh and Leader of the Opposition Sunil Jakhar had earlier stated that the SAD was accountable to the public for the incident.
Khaira on Friday stated that this dastardly killing of the ASI called for a much deeper investigation and introspection, as it was a perfect case of gross failure of the Punjab Police as a force.
"This is not the first time that Akali goons have taken the law in their hands. People have not forgotten the murder of Gurkirat Singh Sekhon (allegedly) by an Akali councillor in Jalandhar in April 2011, the assault on tehsildar GS Benipal in Ludhiana by the SAD-backed Bains brothers, now MLAs, the recent broad-daylight abduction of a Faridkot girl and many such glaring instances," Khaira added.
Reacting sharply, the SAD dubbed the Congress the biggest "parking lot for criminals" and demanded the resignation of party president Sonia Gandhi for "shielding" Sajjan Kumar and Jagdish Tytler in connection with 1984 riots cases.
Youth Akali Dal president and revenue minister Bikram Singh Majithia named several other Congressmen as "criminals", including Sushil Sharma (Naina Sahni murder case), Gurkirat Kotli (Katia kidnapping case), Congress MP from Gujarat Vithal Radadia, and Vinod Sharma, father of Jessica Lal murder case convict Manu Sharma.
"Let Jakhar first ask Sonia Gandhi to resign and then come and talk to us," Majithia said, adding that the Congress was trying to vitiate the atmosphere in Punjab rather than playing a constructive role of the Opposition.