Punjab Congress leaders visit vigilance bureau, ask to be detained


Chandigarh: Punjab Congress on Monday "presented" its leadership before the vigilance bureau saying it could detain any of them as it was fed up of allegations of corruption against its leaders by the state AAP government.

The leaders, including Punjab Congress chief Amrinder Singh Raja Warring, accused the AAP government of indulging in "vendetta and witch-hunt in Punjab" to divert attention from the heat it's facing from probe agencies in Delhi.

"While in Delhi they were crying persecution and victimhood, in Punjab they are resorting to a worse type of vendetta against their political opponents," Warring said.

The Punjab Congress handed over a memorandum at the VB office in Mohali, addressed to the State Vigilance Bureau Director, and left from outside the building as the contingent was not allowed in. Apart from Warring, former ministers Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Rana Gurjeet Singh, and Bharat Bhushan Ashu were among those present at the VB office.

Warring alleged that cases are being registered against them on flimsy grounds, and without due procedure. "We are not saying that we are here to defend if anyone has done any wrong, but this vilification must stop," said Warring.

The memorandum read, "We the Congress leaders from Punjab, who include sitting and former MLAs and former ministers have come here today to present ourselves before you as your department has launched a slanderous and malicious campaign against several of us without any reason and just to please your political bosses.

"Every day there are reports circulated by the department levelling baseless charges against former ministers accusing them of corruption to the tune of thousands of crores of rupees without the amount being accounted for... The way figures are magnified, dramatised and sensationalised, it is clear that there is deliberate design behind it to create a false perception among the public against the party leaders.... The vigilance is being used by the government to cover up its failures in fulfilling the promises it had made as also to divert the attention from the corruption scandals that are tumbling down their cupboard in Delhi," read the memorandum.

"All of us have come here to present ourselves before the department so that you can detain anyone of us, or all of us, whomsoever you have any complaints against, rather about whom you have the directions from the powers that be, to fix," it read.

The Congress leaders said an attempt is being made to target former Food and Civil Supplies Minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu on baseless grounds. Ashu is at the centre of allegations in a transport scam in which tenders were allocated allegedly on fake registration numbers of vehicles. An inquiry is underway in the matter.

Congress' Ludhiana MP Ravneet Singh Bittu told reporters, contractors are being harassed, they are being pressured to take Ashu's name, electric shocks are being given to contractors to pressurise them.

On the AAP government arresting its own minister Vijay Singla earlier this year in connection with a corruption case, Warring said the AAP wanted to take a moral high ground and did a drama of catching their own Minister as their eye was on upcoming polls in Himachal and Gujarat. Punjab and Haryana high court had last month granted bail to Singla.

"If Singla is so corrupt, why is he taking part in AAP meetings and meeting their ministers," Warring asked.

The Congress leaders also sounded a stern warning to officials, asking them not to overstep their brief by acting blindly on the "diktats" of the AAP government.


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