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Former Akali minister Langah booked for raping daughter’s ex-classmate

Police said a woman, in a written complaint, alleged Langah had raped her several times and had also sold off her properties fraudulently.

punjab Updated: Sep 30, 2017 00:09 IST
Ravinder Vasudeva and Kamaljeet Singh Kamal
Langah,Akali leader,Akali leader booked for rape
The complainant had provided the police a pen-drive containing video clip relating to her rape by Langah.(HT File)

In an embarrassment to the Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party (SAD-BJP) combine in Punjab, Gurdaspur police have booked senior Akali leader Sucha Singh Langah on charges of raping a woman constable for nearly a decade.

The development has lent ammunition to the ruling Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to target the SAD-BJP in the run up to the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha bypoll, to be held on October 11.

Langah, who served as the agriculture minister in the SAD-BJP government from 2007 to 2012, is also accused of defrauding her.

The 39-year-old complainant claimed in the first information report (FIR) that she used to study in the same class as Langah’s daughter, Sarabjit Kaur, at the Bebe Nanki College in Gurdaspur. She has accused the 61-year-old politician of forcing her to have sexual relations with him for over eight years under threat of death.

The woman, while lodging the complaint, also claimed to have shot a 20-minute video that shows Langah sexually exploiting her. The clip was handed to the police in a pen drive, Gurdaspur senior superintendent of police (SSP) Harcharan Singh Bhullar said, adding that the probe has been handed over to deputy superintendent of police (DSP) AD Singh.

A case under Sections 376 (rape), a non-bailable offence, 384 (extortion) 420 (fraud) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) has been registered against Langah at the Gurdaspur city police station. Police have also launched a hunt to arrest the Akali leader.

According to the FIR, the complainant’s nightmare began in 2009 when she and her relatives met Langah at the Kisan Bhawan in Chandigarh to seek a job on compassionate grounds. Her husband, a police constable, had passed away – leaving nobody to provide for the family.

“The minister asked me to meet him alone after two days. I did as told because getting a job was very important to me. I had two children to tend to,” the complainant said in the FIR.

The woman vividly recalled the first time Langah allegedly forced himself on her. “I begged the minister to spare me. I even tried reminding him that I was his daughter’s classmate, and – therefore – like a daughter to him. But he wouldn’t listen. He told me that having sexual relations with him was the only way I could get a government job,” she alleged.

Attempts to resist his advances were quelled with death threats. “Whenever I tried putting up a fight, the minister would tell me that he knows gangsters in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh who would kill anybody he wants at a moment’s notice. I dared not speak against him because he was a very powerful man,” the woman said in her statement.

Langah has been a senior member of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbhandhak Committee (SGPC) for over two decades now. Though the politician’s attempts to win from Dera Baba Nanak assembly seat in 2012 and 2017 were unsuccessful, he is still considered the backbone of SAD in the Majha region.

Langah would allegedly fix meetings with the victim in Chandigarh with the help of a senior police official in the state secretariat. She finally decided to shoot the video because she did not think anybody would take her word over the politician’s if she filed a regular complaint, the FIR read.

The complainant also accused Langah of cheating her monetarily. “Langah sold a one-acre plot that belonged to me in Sohal village on the pretext of buying property for me in Chandigarh. Though he made Rs 30 lakh from that transaction, I got a paltry Rs 4.5 lakh. When I protested, he got a local bank to issue a loan of Rs 8 lakh in my name. However, even from that, I got just Rs 1 lakh,” the FIR read.

Langah could not be contacted as all his mobile phones remained switched off.

(Note: This an updated story)

First Published: Sep 29, 2017 11:33 IST