Former deputy chief minister and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal today announced the party would write to Punjab and Haryana high court chief justice Krishna Murari not to approve former judge Mehtab Singh Gill’s name for appointment as Lokpal, saying the judge was a known Congress worker as well as Akali baiter and could not be expected to perform his duties in an honest and non-partisan manner.Reacting to news reports stating Justice (retd) Mehtab Singh Gill’s name had been forwarded to the chief justice for appointment as Lokpal, Mr Sukhbir Badal said the SAD would submit a detailed report on this issue to the CJ and request him to reject the proposal forthwith. “We cannot have someone appointed as Lokpal purely on the basis of his proximity with the chief minister as well as leader of opposition. The appointment of the Lokpal cannot be a quid pro quo arrangement”.Giving details, the SAD president said Justice MS Gill had a long political association with the chief minister. “During the 2013 Moga by-election when Capt Amarinder was the Pradesh Congress president Justice Gill not only assisted in the Congress election campaign but also provided his residence in Charik village in Moga to Amarinder as residence cum camp office for the entire duration of campaigning”. He said Justice Gill was also given an official role in the Congress campaign for the 2017 assembly elections with Amarinder making him part of a committee which was assigned with the task of preparing the blueprint for the party’s election manifesto in 2016.
He said immediately on coming into power as chief minister in March 2017, Capt Amarinder appointed Justice Gill as head of a Commission of Inquiry to look into alleged false cases registered during the SAD-BJP tenure. “The Commission has since worked as an institution to settle scores against Akali leaders and workers. Now the chief minister proposes to intensify persecution against Akali leaders and workers by moving to appoint his crony as Lokpal”, he added.Stating that Justice Gill had been benevolent on even leader of opposition Sukhpal Khaira, the SAD president said the Gill Commission had recommended cancellation of 17 cases registered against the leader of opposition and his supporters. He said Khaira had on his part had appreciated the “impartial” services rendered by the Commission. “Khaira, who is known to object to every appointment forwarded to him by the government for consultation as leader of opposition, has understandably also entered into a quid pro quo arrangement with Justice Gill and favours his appointment”, Mr Badal asserted.Calling for immediate rejection of Justice (retd) Gill’s candidature as Lokpal, the SAD president urged the chief justice to intervene and ensure the new Lokpal was an apolitical person whose past was above board and who enjoyed impeccable credentials. “Appointing Justice Gill to this august post will only result in furthering the cause of vendetta politics and defeating the purpose of public good”, he added.