Punjab Congress president Amarinder Singh has demanded immediate dismissal of the Badal government, saying it had been completely exposed in the Fazilka jail incident, where a known henchman of Sukhbir Singh Badal was caught holding a kangaroo court on Wednesday along with two dozen other Akali-linked criminals.
Lashing out at the brazen display of money and muscle power and the complete breakdown of the law and order in the state, Captain demanded imposition of President’s Rule to hold free and fair elections in the state.
The incident had thoroughly exposed the complicity of the Badals and their associates in the rampant crime mafia in the state, said Amarinder, calling for an independent probe by a central agency into the incident.
Given his close links with Sukhbir, the main culprit in the case, Shiv Lal Doda, was clearly acting as the former’s henchman and holding a proxy meeting for the home minister in the jail when he was caught, along with about two dozen others known to have close links with the Akalis, said Amarinder, adding that Sukhbir’s complicity in the entire case had been completely exposed and he had lost all moral right to continue in office.
It is important to find out how all that money and weapons entered the jail premises, he said, adding that it could not have been done without involvement from the highest levels in the government.
Captain said the jail’s CCTV footage should be seized to ascertain how so many people were allowed inside with mobile phones, arms and money, and why they were let off. He demanded that cases of criminal trespass, corruption and unlawful assembly, as well as under the IT Act for carrying mobile phones, should be registered in the case.
Amarinder complemented the Election Commission for its prompt action in ordering the raid, on a tip-off by a Congress leader, and the penal action taken immediately thereafter against jail officials.
Referring to reports of large amount of ammunition and wads of notes being found during the raid, which was conducted while Doda was holding a `kangaroo court’ in the jail premises, Amarinder said the mere fact that Doda, a liquor baron and murder accused incarcerated as an undertrial in the jail, was brazenly indulging in such activity showed the extent to which the Akali-supported mafia had got hold of the state’s law and order machinery.
Captain Amarinder called for an independent probe by a central agency to fix responsibility, and demanded exemplary action against the guilty. He cited media reports to point out that the district administration had failed to take action even though it had received information about the meeting before the EC orders came. The local agencies could not, in the circumstances, be trusted to do justice to the probe, he added.
He said the incident endorsed the suspicions he had expressed in the wake of the Nabha jail break about involvement of the Badals and their associates in that incident, and also proved that Sukhbir, and other Akali leaders working at his behest, were running a prison mafia in the state. He pointed out that all the five gangsters who escaped from Nabha belonged to Sukhbir’s constituency Jalalabad and none of them had been arrested despite the police crackdown in the wake of the incident.
With the criminal-politician nexus so deep-rooted under the Badal regime, it was not possible to ensure free and fair polls in Punjab in the current political dispensation, said Amarinder, demanding immediate dismissal of the Akali government and imposition of President’s Rule in the interest of electoral propriety and democracy.