Police sealing the Three Palms resort int Bathinda where Congress leaders organised a party flouting Covid guidelines. (Sanjeev Kumar/HT)
Police sealing the Three Palms resort int Bathinda where Congress leaders organised a party flouting Covid guidelines. (Sanjeev Kumar/HT)

Cong resort bash: Bathinda mayor’s husband, 2 councillors among 12 arrested

Police said pictures of the party, showing elected representatives, on a Congress activist’s Facebook page gave cops clinching evidence, all accused have been released on bail, says SSP BS Virk
By Vishal Joshi, Bathinda
PUBLISHED ON APR 28, 2021 01:45 AM IST

The police on Tuesday arrested 12 persons, including two Congress councillors and the husband of the newly elected Bathinda mayor, for attending a celebratory function at a local resort four days ago in violation of Covid guidelines.

Police said pictures of the party, showing elected representatives, on a Congress activist’s Facebook page gave cops clinching evidence.

“Congress councillors Sukhraj Singh Aulakh and Rattan Rahi were held along with the husband of mayor Raman Goyal, Sandeep Goyal, who had hosted the party. Husbands of six other newly elected women councillors have also been arrested,” said senior superintendent of police (SSP) BS Virk.

They were booked under sections 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 269 (negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life), 270 (malignant act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) of the Indian Penal Code and 51 Disaster Management Act. Later, all accused were released on bail.

However, some of the alleged key violators, including the newly elected senior deputy mayor Ashok Pradhan, finance minister Manpreet Badal’s son Arjun Badal and the minister’s brother-in-law Jaijeet Johal, did not figure in the FIR.

Goyal, a city-based wine contractor is a close aide of Manpreet and Johal. Pradhan had confirmed to the media that most of the 43 Congress councillors and party leaders had a brief social gathering on Friday.

SSP Virk said more arrests will be made after thorough verification. “As a raiding party did not find any conclusive evidence at Three Palms resort, located on the city outskirts, our teams followed FB pages of the suspects to gather photographic evidence. On the basis of these digital proofs, the accused were zeroed in and taken into custody,” said the SSP.

A large group of Congressmen had gathered at the luxury resort to celebrate the installation of the first Congress mayor of Bathinda, the traditional bastion of Akalis.

Photos and videos of the party at the resort that were leaked are being shared widely on social media through the FB pages of some councillors. Police administration faced wide criticism for trying to hush up the violation due to the presence of politically influential persons at the unauthorised gathering posing a risk of virus spread.

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