Almost 10 days after ruling Shiromani Akali Dal leaders played “taped” phone conversation of two Congress leaders with organisers of the radical Sarbat Khalsa, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) general secretary Sukhjinder Raj Singh ‘Lalli’ Majithia held a press conference here on Tuesday. He, however, neither denied nor accepted the charge levelled by the SAD.
Instead, he challenged deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal to prove the veracity of the audio clip.
“Let Sukhbir or top police officials such as the director general of police or an additional director general of police claim that they have got the authenticity of the audio examined. If not, I will approach the Punjab and Haryana high court and file a defamation case against SAD leaders,” he said.
At a press conference on October 14, SAD minister Daljit Singh Cheema had produced audio evidence --- which the party claims was uploaded on social media by someone --- to allege Lalli Majithia spoke to Satwant Singh Manawa, one of the orgnisers of the November 10 Sarbat Khalsa, promising to get people at the gathering. The charge was later repeated by Sukhbir at his press conferences in Punjab and in Delhi.
On whether the voice in the audio clip is his, the Congress leader said he will neither deny nor accept it. “First, let Sukhbir claim he has verified the audio’s authenticity,” he said. He went on to add that tapping phones was a violation of the IT Act and the right to privacy. “It has exposed that the government was snooping on political rivals,” he added.
Alleging that he was being targeted as he contested against Punjab revenue minister Bikram Singh Majithia from Majitha constituency, he said, “I have exposed their many mafias and have been framed in false cases due to political vendetta. This is just another frame-up,” he said. Showing an earlier publication of the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC), he said it clearly states the Majithia family had hosted General Reginald Dyer who had ordered the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in 1919.
“I do not have to prove my nationalist credentials to people like Sukhbir and Majithia, whose ancestors had honoured and dined with the British general who killed hundreds of innocents while mine had fought for the country’s freedom,” he said. Harminder Gill, the other Congress leader whose “taped” conversation was played by SAD leaders to allege Congress “masterminded” the event, has denied that the voice in the audio clip was his.
Chandigarh, Shiromani Akali Dal, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, Daljit Singh Cheema, News, HindustanTimes