The cow slaughter incident that rocked the state continues to grab headlines. This time, the police have been found to be following double standards in matter of taking action against the accused.
With the directions coming from the chief minister, police officials showed quick action in nabbing one of the owners of the unit. However, the police seemed to be shielding another owner who happens to be Powercom executive engineer Hardeep Singh Sidhu posted at Bathinda, who has not been arrested.
Besides, Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) officials too are tight lipped on the matter and feigning ignorance about Sidhu's arrest.
With the cow slaughter scandal coming to light on June 10, Punjab chief minister Prakash Singh Badal had suspended Mansa senior superintendent of police Sukhdev Singh Chahal and Joga station house officer Rajinder Pal Singh. The district police had arrested three factory owners the same day.
Three days later, on June 14, police booked five more accused, including Nihal Singh, Baldev Singh, Hardyal Singh, Aslam and executive engineer Hardeep Singh. Police arrested Ajaib Singh, Mewa Singh, Narinder Singh on June 10 and Hardyal Singh of Mansa on June 14. Five other accused Nihal Singh, Baldev Singh, Aslam, Hardeep Singh and main accused Hans Raj are on the run.
It is learnt that Nihal Singh, Ajaib Singh, Mewa Singh, Hardyal Singh and Baldev Singh bought the factory from a Mansa-based advocate in July 2009.
As per the revenue records, on May 13 this year Nihal Singh transferred the ownership to his XEN son Hardeep Singh. Sources said Hardeep Singh used to look after the factory since its purchase, but the ownership was transferred when Nihal Singh came to know about the slaughtering of cattle there.
The factory was started by a Mansa-based advocate in 1999 and was inaugurated by the then SGPC member Baldev Singh Makha. The then Budhlada MLA Hardev Arshi had raised the issue in the assembly and opposed the setting up of factory at the village for environmental concerns, but Prakash Singh Badal had supported the factory.
When contacted, Bathinda PSPCL superintendent engineer Jarnail Singh denied having any knowledge about the case against XEN Hardeep Singh.
"We had not received any official intimation about Hardeep Singh, but if I do, action will be taken. Hardeep Singh is on leave," he said.
Speaking over phone, Mansa SSP Harpreet Singh said: "We are investigating the matter deeply, but we do not know whether accused Hardeep Singh is an XEN or not. If you are sure, then he must be. We had booked Hardeep's father Nihal Singh (80), who is not out of reach but we have not arrested him as we are trying to reach the real culprit."