Former Punjab minister and senior Akali leader Sucha Singh Langah on Wednesday alleged that Gurdaspur district development and panchayat officer (DDPO) Jagwinderjit Singh Sandhu, who had accused the former of threatening and abusing him on the phone, was a former terrorist.
Addressing a press conference here, Langah rubbished the DDPO’s allegations that the ex-minister had threatened to kill him if he did not favour his (Langah’s) men while allotting Kalanaur panchayat land on lease.
Langah alleged that the DDPO had been an activist of the Khalistan Commando Force (KCF) and was allegedly involved in the Rs 31-crore bank heist in Ludhiana in 1988. He said Sandhu had close links with KCF terrorists Sukha Sepahi and Labh Singh.
The Akali leader said Sandhu was a panchayat officer in the late 1980s and had remained absconding for six months after the bank robbery. Langah said 30 FIRs had been registered against Sandhu, then known as Jagwinderjit Singh alias Happy alias Thanedar, at a police station in Ludhiana in 1986.
Langah said he recently spoke to the DDPO for just 11 seconds on the mobile phone that belonged to his friend, Nirmal Singh of Amritsar.
The Akali leader claimed that he had received hundreds of complaints against the DDPO from a large number of zila parishad members, block samiti members, sarpanches and others that the officer had not okayed any development work in any panchayat in the district despite the fact that the panchayats had sufficient funds for development works.
The ex-minister said he had rung up the DDPO to ask him about this mess that was tarnishing the image of the SAD-BJP government.
Langah, also the district SAD president, wondered why he needed to threaten or abuse the DDPO when he could have easily got him transferred as he was a member of the party’s core committee.
Meanwhile, the DDPO refuted the allegations levelled by the Akali leader, adding that Langah had lost his balance of mind after the tough stand he took against him for threatening him on the phone.
Sandhu said the three-member investigation committee formed by deputy commissioner Abhinav Trikha to look into his allegations against Langah had not even met since its formation on December 15, even though it had been directed by the DC to submit a report by December 17.
The DDPO said he had called a meeting of officers of the rural department from Jalandhar division on Wednesday, when they would decide the course of action to be taken against Langah.