Categorically rejecting charges of unauthorized tapping of phones, a Punjab government spokesperson on Tuesday alleged a major political conspiracy against the Captain Amarinder Singh led Congress government, ahead of the Shahkot by-election.Urging the Election Commission to take cognizance of the government’s request for immediate transfer of Mehatpur SHO Parminder Pal Singh in the interest of free and fair by-poll, the spokesperson said the recent developments in the constituency had exposed the nexus between the SHO and certain politicians belonging to the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) as well as the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).The SHO had himself been heard bragging to his colleagues in the police station and to friends about his conversations with AAP’s Sukhpal Singh Khaira and SAD’s Daljeet Cheema, said the spokesperson, adding that all allegations of phone tapping in this regard were totally false and baseless.The government had never indulged in any such illegal acts involving violation of the privacy and human rights of individuals, nor would do so under any circumstances, said the spokesperson, adding that the Opposition had simply picked up a part of the Chief Minister’s statement to divert attention from the operative part of his remarks, which had exposed the blatant nexus of the SHO with the senior Akali and AAP leadership.
It was significant that Khaira had not denied the alleged conversation referred to by the Chief Minister, said the spokesperson. It was evident from Khaira’s response that the conversation cited by Captain Amarinder had indeed taken place, as the SHO himself had been found talking about it to all and sundry, the spokesperson added.The spokesperson pointed out that the SHO’s role in the entire episode had been questionable from the very outset, considering the undue haste with which he had filed the FIR against the Congress candidate for Shahkot bye-elections, Hardev Singh @ Laadi Sherowalia, instead of merely initiating an inquiry, as directed by the Election Commission.The SHO’s conduct after filing the FIR also smacked of partisanship and political bias, which completely eliminated the prospects of free and fair conduct of the by-election, said the spokesperson, urging the EC to order a thorough probe into Parminder Pal Singh’s antecedents and conduct, which had clearly lowered the public image of the state police and administration. The spokesperson further urged the EC to investigate reports of the SHO issuing threats to media persons in a bid to prevent them from doing their duty in a free and fair manner.
The spokesperson also requested the EC to take all necessary steps to prevent any further violation of its directives or the model code of conduct that was in place in view of the Shahkot by-poll. The government, said the spokesperson, was all for a fair and transparent inquiry into the charges against the Congress candidate, as per the EC’s instructions, but it was evident from the events of the last few days that the SHO was playing into the hands of political leaders with vested interests. It was obvious that the SHO was not interested in a fair probe but was keen to oust the Congress candidate from the electoral race by hook or by crook, said the spokesperson.The SHO’s behaviour so far clearly showed that he was acting in cahoots with the Opposition, said the spokesperson, requesting the EC’s intervention to independently probe the entire episode and take all necessary steps to ensure that the is no undue influence or interference in the smooth and transparent conduct of the poll process in Shahkot.