Punjab DGP, Akali leaders spring to Majithia's defence
The unnerved Badal government on Wednesday adopted a multi-pronged fire-fighting strategy at the police and political levels to douse the embers ignited by under-arrest wrestler-turned-druglord Jagdish Singh Bhola's bombshell that powerful cabinet minister Bikram Singh Majithia.Updated: Jan 09, 2014 10:55 IST
The unnerved Badal government on Wednesday adopted a multi-pronged fire-fighting strategy at the police and political levels to douse the embers ignited by under-arrest wrestler-turned-druglord Jagdish Singh Bhola's bombshell that powerful cabinet minister Bikram Singh Majithia was allegedly a kingpin of the recently busted multi-crore drug racket.
Under a carefully-crafted move devised following a series of parleys held at the level of Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, the government attempted to puncture the growing controversy by fielding director general of police (DGP) Sumedh Singh Saini and additional director general of police (intelligence) HS Dhillon, besides the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal's troubleshooters Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal and Daljit Singh Cheema, who held back-to-back press conferences to launch the counter-offensive.
While the top cops dismissed Bhola's allegations as "ridiculous and futile desperate bid" by a hardened criminal to "derail" the ongoing "transparent" police investigation, the political leaders described the charges against the minister as the outcome of "a nexus between a criminal and the Congress."
The controversy erupted on January 6 when Bhola, while being taken to a court in SAS Nagar, had told the media that "Majithia is the mastermind of this racket," and that he himself was innocent. Bhola, who has been booked under seven cases, had also demanded an investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) instead of the Punjab Police into the drug racket. Bhola's audacious statement had put Majithia in a tight spot.
"It is not for the accused to choose his investigators. We have a water-tight case against Bhola. His mischievous and ridiculous allegations are aimed at derailing and defocusing the investigation. His attempts will not have the desired effect," DGP Saini said.
"On the contrary," he said, "we are moving against this experienced criminal with the same vigour and transparency with which we have been carrying out our investigation."
Without being specific, the DGP said that "we have examined the matter." But he ducked a query on whether examining the matter meant that the police had examined Bhola's allegations. Even as the Congress has trained its guns at Majithia, the DGP said the police would not proceed against anyone on the basis of a criminal's wild allegations. "If there is anything specific, the police will proceed.
But you cannot proceed at the drop of a hat against anyone on the basis of wild statements of a hardened criminal," the police officer said.
Regarding the growing chorus that the case be handed over to the CBI, the DGP said the police would appropriately address this issue before the Punjab and Haryana high court, which has issued a notice on a petition moved by former Congress MP Jagmeet Brar.
The fairness of the probe and its transparency, the DGP said, can be gauged from the fact that Bhola had been interrogated on different occasions and at length by the Intelligence Bureau, the Enforcement Directorate, Border Security Force and the Narcotics Control Bureau.
Asked if Bhola's allegations were "ridiculous and wild", then why the top police brass felt compelled to respond to the same, the DGP shot back: "Because the hardened criminal has attempted to comment on a fair police investigation. Therefore, I am making the police position clear."
Earlier in the day, SAD leaders Grewal and Cheema said the politics being played by Bhola was on expected lines. Grewal, SAD general secretary and adviser to the CM, said the demand for a CBI probe was not warranted.
"Bikram (Majithia) is being targeted by the Congress because he has decimated the Congress in Majha. There is a direct nexus between the Congress and Bhola. The latter is in deep waters and will not succeed in his designs," Grewal said.