Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) president Partap Singh Bajwa has expressed grief at the demise of Hindustan Times principal correspondent Jasdeep Singh Malhotra in a road mishap on the Pathaknot-Jalandhar national highway on Sunday.
Suspecting foul play, he has appealed to the Punjab and Haryana high court to take suo motu notice of the incident and order a CBI probe into the mishap.
"His death is a huge loss to the media fraternity and his family. I have serious doubts that Malhotra was killed in a deep-rooted conspiracy by the sand mafia operating in Pathankot," he said.
Malhotra had highlighted the illegal collection of goonda tax by the sand mafia in Pathankot and HT had carried a front-page report on this on Sunday.
"It is expected that Malhotra had gathered more information on the activities of sand mafia, which is shielded by ruling party. Since the high court is monitoring the cases involving illegal sand mining, I request the chief justice to order a CBI probe into the circumstances that led to death of Malhotra," he said. He added that he had known Malhotra for more than 20 years.
Lost a good friend: Amarinder
Chandigarh: Former Punjab CM and permanent invitee to the Congress Working Committee Captain Amarinder Singh said: "Jasdeep was a thorough professional and a good friend. With his demise, a vacuum has been created which will never be filled. It is an irreparable loss. I and the Congress stand by his family in this hour of grief."
A rude shock: PYC
Punjab Youth Congress president Vikramjit Singh Chaudhary said that the death was a rude shock not only to the media fraternity and his family but to all friends and comrades, who knew him as a brave, journalist.
When will road safety be an issue: Khaira
Congress spokesman Sukhpal Singh Khaira said: "Malhotra had contributed a lot to journalism. He was a very fine human being and a good friend. More than 5,000 innocent lives are lost in road accidents in the state each year. What is the government doing to make our roads safer? The authorities need to wake up."
He expressed his wishes for early recovery of Pathankot SSP Surinder Kumar Kalia and others injured in the accident.
Manish Tewari mourns death
Union information and broadcasting minister Manish Tewari said: "Malhotra was too young to die. I knew him through his writings. I offer my condolences and all help will be given to his family from the information and broadcasting ministry."
Punjab Congress general secretary and Dhuri MLA Arvind Khanna has also expressed profound gried over the tragic death of Jasdeep Malhotra.
Dal Khalsa spokesman Kanwarpal Singh said: "We are deeply saddened to hear about the tragic demise of a fearless journalist."