Brushing aside the Opposition demand to book the Badals, owners of the Orbit Aviation bus company, in the Moga bus molestation case, Bathinda range inspector general (IG) PS Umranangal said the police could not proceed against a person who was not aware that an offence was being committed, be it the owner of the vehicle or anyone else.
However, the Punjab Police did not follow same rules in a bus accident case that took place three years ago in Tarn Taran district. Perhaps the only reason for this was that the bus belonged to a family that supports the Congress. The incident took place near Patti Mor on the Patti-Khem Karan road soon after the Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party (SAD-BJP) government began its second successive stint in the office.
The bus involved in the accident belonged to Shakri transport company owned by Bhola Singh Shakri, who had supported Congress candidate Harminder Singh Gill in the assembly elections from the Patti constituency. Gill had narrowly lost to Akali candidate Adaish Partap Singh Kairon, the son-in-law of chief minister Parkash Singh Badal.
The police booked Shakri’s son Rupinderjit Singh, the co-owner of the transport company, in an attempt to murder case, as a motorcyclist was injured after being hit by their bus. The bus driver was arrested.
Gill had protested the move terming it a political vendetta as the Shakri family had supported him in the polls. Former chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh even staged a sit-in in Patti against the police move.
Though Rupinderjit managed to get bail, it took almost a year for him to get the case quashed through the judicial process.
As if this was not enough, the owners of the Shakri transport company —Shakri and his son Rupinderjit — were booked again in another case of attempt to murder last month. The case was registered after a driver of the Shakri transport company indulged in a fight with a driver of another bus company over timings near Varpal.
Though the incident occurred under the jurisdiction of the Sultanwind police station, the case was registered at Patti. The drivers also recorded their statements at the Sultanwind police station. The farther-son duo, however, got an anticipatory bail in the case.
“The owners were not involved in the offence directly in both the cases, but the police booked Shakri and his son. But why the police are not adopting the same yardstick in the Moga case and booking the Badals?” Gill questioned. He said the Shakri transport company owned around 60 buses and was one of the oldest transport companies in Punjab.
Gill also accused the police of adopting two sets of law — one for the ruling party and the other for the Opposition. “If the owner of the bus involved in the Delhi rape case and the owners of the Shakri transport company could be booked for offences committed by their employees, why cannot the Badals, who run Orbit Aviation, be booked?” he questioned.