Ex-MLA retracts statement on dera head-Sukhbir Badal’s Rs 100 crore deal
In the “sting video” that went viral on the social media, Jalal is seen telling some journalists in Bathinda that he deliberately mentioned Rs 100 crore in the description as he was not having any idea about the exact deal.Updated: Aug 25, 2018 10:20 IST
In an embarrassing turn of events for the Ranjit Singh (retd) Commission, former MLA Harbans Lal Jalal, one of the key witnesses in the panel’s report, on Friday retracted from his statement saying that the “Rs 100 crore deal between Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal and Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim to secure Akal Takht pardon for the latter was his personal assumption”.
The ex-MLA, who on October 9, 2017, told the commission that a Rs 100 crore deal was struck between Sukhbir and Ram Rahim at a Bollywood actor’s house in Mumbai before the release of dera head’s movie “MSG 2 The Messenger” was on Friday seen in a “sting operation” stating that he “deliberately added” Rs 100 crore in his statement.
In the “sting video” that went viral on the social media, Jalal is seen telling some journalists in Bathinda that he deliberately mentioned Rs 100 crore in the description as he was not having any idea about the exact deal.
“The mention of Rs 100 crore was my personal assumption. A deal between ultra-rich Sukhbir Singh Badal and Ram Rahim cannot be struck for a meagre few crores. I think at least Rs 100 crore must have been exchanged, so I narrated all this to the commission,” the ex-MLA from Rampura Phul in Bathinda is seen telling journalists.
Lal, who won assembly polls in 1971, is a non political entity in the state.
The commission has probed the incidents of sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib and police firing on Sikh protesters at Behbal Kalan in 2015 and its report would be tabled in Vidhan Sabha on Monday.
“Following the deal, Sukhbir sent Takht Damdama Sahib jathedar to the Akal Takht jathedar to get the previous diktat ex-communicating the dera head withdrawn. This was done with an aim to arrange the release of Ram Rahim-starrer film MSG 2 The Messenger in Punjab. The film was expected to earn Rs 300 crore if released in the state and the dera head had agreed to pay Rs 100 crore to Sukhbir as party fund,” the report says quoting Jalal.
When contacted, Jalal said: “I am not backtracking from my statement. I am only stating that the amount in the deal was based on my personal assumption.”
Jalal has continuously changed his statements over the charges made about the deal in the past few days.
First, he claimed that he was never summoned by the commission and did not give any written statement, later he said he did not remember it exactly if he submitted something in writing as he is a patient and could not recall exactly what happened.
First Published: Aug 25, 2018 10:00 IST