Confidant questioned in 2019 liquor smuggling case, Congress MLA has face-off with SBS Nagar SSP
Congress MLA Angad Singh and Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar senior superintendent of police Harmanbir Singh Gill had an altercation on Thursday after the legislator’s close confidant Vikas Soni was brought in for questioning in the 2019 liquor smuggling case.
The MLA and his supporters also staged a protest against the SSP in front of the district administration complex in the evening. “Soni was questioned for around 45 minutes and then allowed to leave,” a senior official said.
Interestingly, a special investigation team, comprising former SBS Nagar senior superintendent of police Alka Meena, SBS Nagar superintendent of police (SP, investigation) Wazir Singh Khaira and SP (Khanna) Manpreet Singh as its members, had indicted and named Vikas Soni as accused in the same liquor smuggling case on August 19. The SIT in its report had directed the Sadar SHO to arrest Soni and had filed challan against him.
A senior official, seeking anonymity, said the district police had taken the accused into custody, but he was let off due to pressure from authorities.
SBS Nagar sadar station house officer Satish Kumar, however, denied that Soni was brought to the police station to be arrested. “I have recently joined the police station and questioned Soni as his name had figured in the liquor smuggling case.”
On the SIT’s findings, Kumar said that he was not aware of the SIT’s findings and had not received any report. Meanwhile, senior officials refused to comment on the matter.
MLA Angad Singh, while addressing his supporters, said that Congress workers were being harassed after Harmanbir Singh joined as SSP.
“Soni was falsely implicated in the case. A report was prepared in the back date because Soni helped me take possession of land in Amritsar,” said the MLA, asking why the report was completed just two days before the transfer of former SSP and if Soni was guilty, why no action was taken in the last year.
“I will not tolerate any injustice with Congress workers and if the police don’t stop, they will be responsible for any emergent law-and-order situation”, said Singh, adding that the SSP was inclined towards AAP.
In 2018, Angad Singh, and his family had a spat with Harmanbir Singh Gill, who is the brother of Khadoor Sahib MP, Jasbir Singh Dimpa and his family over a dispute over the Rohtak District Transport Co-operative Society Limited (RDTCSL) office in Amritsar.
What was the case?
Two Mohali men, including Balwinder Singh and Maan Singh, were arrested and 800 boxes of illegal liquor were recovered in SBS Nagar on April 5, 2019, ahead of the general elections.
Later, the police named Hemant Kumar, Shankar Duggal and Gaurav Chopra, three partners running the shelter where the liquor was unloaded, as accused in the case. Later, Hemant Kumar and Shankar Duggal, who were affiliated with the Akali Dal, asked for a re-investigation into their role.
In August 2020, Ludhiana inspector general of police Naunihal Singh formed an SIT headed by then SSP (SBS Nagar) Alka Meena, to probe the case.
In the report, the SIT found that Ravinder Singh, Honey Chadha and Gaurav Chopra, all accused in the case in connivance with Vikas Soni, had bought the illegal liquor from Ranjodh Singh. Meanwhile, the SIT found Hemant Kumar and Shankar Duggal, innocent. So far, six people have been arrested.