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Lawyers who dragged Joshi to court now target

The lawyers who dragged Punjab cabinet minister Anil Joshi to court are now free target in a coinciding turn of events. On Friday night, an attempt to murder case was registered against one of them.

punjab Updated: May 11, 2014 09:42 IST
Harkirat Singh

The lawyers who dragged Punjab cabinet minister Anil Joshi to court are now free target in a coinciding turn of events. On Friday night, an attempt to murder case was registered against one of them, Sandeep Gorsi, and the next day, a couple of armed goons attacked and Vineet Mahajan an hour after he claimed at a press conference that the case against his friend was “fabricated” and he might be the next target of the “henchmen of the local bodies and medical education minister”.

“They (Joshi and company) have implicated Gorsi in a false case and now it’s my turn. The motive is to prevent us from reaching court on May 12 to oppose the anticipatory-bail application of the minister,” said Mahajan.

In “dual vote” case, bailable warrants were issued against Joshi, his wife, and seven members of his family, while on May 5, non-bailable ar rest warrants were issued against the minister in two of the three other cases. Gorsi is in hiding to evade arrest.

The Amritsar Bar Association has called for indefinite strike over the “false” case against him and the assault on Mahajan. There was no response from Joshi, as his mobile phone was switched off. His personal assistant, Rakesh Kumar Mintoo, refused to answer repeated calls.

Mahajan alleged that the minister could go to any extent to keep him from attending court on May 12. An hour after the statement, the car of Mahanjan brothers, Vineet and Avneesh, was intercepted near Doaba Motors on Court Road and they were attacked with sharp-edged weapons.

With injured limbs, the brothers are admitted to a private hospital, their car splattered with blood. The police are yet to register a case, since Mahajan has declined to record his statement. He told the media in the presence of the Civil Lines station house officer, inspector Varinder Kumar: “You all are working at the behest of Joshi, so I expect no justice from you.”

Asked to react, police commissioner Jatinder Singh Aulakh said when the statement was recorded, the police would register a case. Senior Congress leaders Harminder Singh Gill, Jasbir Singh Dimpa, Jugal Kishore Sharma, and Joginderpal Dhingra condemned the incident and threatened to organise a protest. Both Mahajan and Gorsi are members of the party. Jugal Kishore Sharma said Aulakh was acting as the “commissioner of Joshi”.

A couple of hours after a local court hearing the “dual vote” case issued bailable warrants on Friday against Joshi, complaint Gorsi had an attempt to murder case slapped on by Rakesh Bhardwaj, a close friend of the minister.

Bhardwaj lodged a complaint at Civil Lines that Gorsi and Congress councillor Gurinder Singh Rishi had attacked him with sharp-edged weapons inside a three-star hotel where he was for dinner with friends. Bhardwaj admitted self to a private hospital on Friday night and, the next day, moved to Guru Nanak Dev Hospital of the local medical college.

The X-ray and medico-legal reports were ready in no time at the Civil Hospital. The procedure takes hours normally. In spite of being aware of the enmity between Joshi and Gorsi, Aulakh justified the lodging of the case without a detailed inquiry, saying: “We acted on a complaint.”

Mahajan claimed before the media that at Hotel Best Western for dinner, Gorsi and Rishi had spotted Joshi and Bhardwaj with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) councillors Manav Taneja and Sukhwinder Singh Pinto.

“The minister and his friends panicked since the former is evading arrest. Barring Joshi, the rest ran in towards Gorsi and Rishi and forced them to flee,” said Mahajan, alleging that Bhardwaj had not mentioned the minister in his complaint deliberately.

He claimed that Joshi’s friends had pelted Gorsi’s car with stones and, in panic, the fleeing lawyer had crashed into a two-wheeler, which may have injured its riders, whom he was ready to compensate. “When I got to know, I rang up police commissioner Aulakh, who promised me justice but instead chose to book Gorsi and Rishi in a false case.”

Non-bailable warrants issued against him, Joshi continues to roam free in the city, since Mahajan claim he was at Hotel Best Wester n on Friday night. Local Congress leader Karamjit Singh Rintu claims that the minister also attended a “bhog” ceremony at Tung Bala here on Friday.

Aulakh denied working for the minister or that the latter roamed free in the city. “Gorsi lodged no complaint but the other side did, so we registered the first-information report,” said the police commissioner. The lawyers had told him last December about the threats but he had provided them with no security.

A couple of months ago, a man under trial for drug trade had slapped a case of fraud on Mahajan, which the latter claims to be guided by Joshi. In January, Gorsi played an audio recording for the media, in which the-then SHO of Civil Lines warned him of a false case if he didn’t compromise with “mantriji”.