The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today demanded the immediate arrest of Congress Shahkot by-poll candidate Hardev Singh Laadi after registration of a non bailable criminal case against him, even as it asked Congress president Rahul Gandhi to explain under what compulsion he had given the by-poll ticket to the mining mafia king pin.In a statement here, SAD senior Vice President and MP Ranjit Singh Brahmpura said as per the case registered against Laadi by the Punjab Police, the Congress leader had been prima-facia found guilty of theft of natural resources under Section 379 which itself amounted to moral turpitude. “This is a charge which has been made against Laadi by his own government dispensation and exposes the double standards of the Congress party on the issue of corruption and mining mafia”. Mr Brahmpura said it was strange that on the one hand Rahul Gandhi wanted to take credit for dropping Rana Gurjit Singh from the Punjab cabinet and had also claimed to have adopted the same parameter to deny the party ticket to the Reddy brothers in Karnataka. “However in the case of Hardev Laadi, despite the presence of a video which proved the Congress leader’s role in illegal mining, Rahul Gandhi chose to bestow him with the party nomination. The people need to know why such benevolence was shown to a mafia kingpin despite written complaints on this issue to the party high command”, Mr Brahmpura asked.
The SAD leader said the issue did not end here. “First the Congress party awarded its party nomination to the mining mafia kingpin. Then it compounded its mistake by trying to brow beat the Mehatpur police station SHO to take back the FIR registered against the Congress leader. The extent of this pressure and the close links the Congress government has with the mining mafia can be ascertained from the fact that Mehatpur SHO Parminder Singh submitted his resignation today before being forced to backtrack on even that. This is how police officers who should be honoured with President medal are treated in Congress raj”, he added.The Akali leader said the entire sequence of events had exposed the double speak of Congress President Rahul Gandhi on the issue of corruption and mafia raj and had simultaneously proved the close links of the Congress government with the mining mafia which is controlled by senior Congressmen and legislators. “Both Rahul Gandhi and the State government have no face to show to the people of Punjab and especially those of Shahkot who do not deserve an alleged criminal as their representative in the hallowed Vidhan Sabha. The Congress party should withdraw Laadi’s candidature and subject him to the due process of law by arresting him immediately. Or both Rahul and the State government will be exposed completely before the country and Punjabis’ both”, Mr Brahmpura added.