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Police go soft on SAD workers accused in Rs 11-crore foograin scam

They reportedly joined the Congress last month; Khemkaran MLA also comes to their rescue

punjab Updated: Nov 24, 2017 15:58 IST
Anil Sharma
Anil Sharma
Hindustan Times, Tarn Taran
Police go soft,SAD workers,Shiromani Akali Dal
The Bhikhiwind police had registered two different cases in the food grain scam in 2014. The cases were registered after physical verification of two godowns at Pahuwind and Manihala Jai Singh villages.(Representative image )

More than three months after nine persons were booked in the Rs 11.59-crore food grain scam, the Tarn Taran police have yet to arrest four of the accused from Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).

It was after more than two years of investigation that the police had booked nine people, including four SAD workers, on August 19. They included vice-chairman of market committee Bhikhiwind, Bharat Bhushan Ladu, vice-chairman of Bhikhiwind Nagar Panchayat, Krishanpal Judge, Neeraj Dhawan and Manoj Dhawan (sons of former Akali sarpanch of Khalra).

On October 6, Congress workers held a meeting at Krishanpal Judge’s house in Bhikhiwind during which the four accused reportedly joined Congress party in the presence of Khemkaran MLA Sukhpal Singh Bhullar. However, the MLA rubbished the claim and said the meeting was held to discuss issues relating to the Bhikhiwind Nagar Panchayat. On that very day, the police had said they had not arrested the accused because an inquiry was still underway.

However, on Thursday, deputy superintendent of police (DSP) Bhikhiwind Sulakhan Singh Mann said, “I have asked station house officer (SHO) Bhikhiwind, the investigation officer in the case, whether he had conducted any inquiry, and I came to know that no inquiry had been marked by any senior officer so far.”

He said, “Now, I am going to issue arrest warrants of the accused, and we will nab them soon.” However, MLA Bhullar claimed that the accused had not been arrested due to the ongoing inquiry.

Former SAD MLA Virsa Singh Valtoha alleged that Congress was indulging in political vendetta. “The workers are being pressured to join Congress. The police have implicated them in false cases,” he claimed.

The case

The Bhikhiwind police had registered two different cases in the food grain scam in 2014. The cases were registered after physical verification of two godowns at Pahuwind and Manihala Jai Singh villages, here. During the verification, 22,266 quintal of food grain was found missing from the Pahuwind godown, and 39,715 quintal from Manihala Jai Singh. The missing food grain was estimated to be worth Rs 11.6 crore.

The police had then booked inspector Pawanpreet Singh, the then godowns in charge. After two years of investigation, the Taran Taran police had booked eight more people in August. They had arrested three persons, including Sukhdev Singh of Patti and Satnam Singh of Chhapa, both SAD workers, and Punjab agro inspector Pawanpreet Singh, who was booked in 2014 soon after the scam came to light. The other two booked in the case were Punjab Agro managing director Jaswant Rai and district manager BS Randhawa.

They have taken bail from the Punjab and Haryana high court.

First Published: Nov 24, 2017 15:57 IST