Chandigarh: The row between the Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann and former chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh and the then minister of Jails Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa over the recovery of ₹55 lakh expenditure on UP’s gangster-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari’s “cosy stay” in a state prison during previous Congress rule, flared up on Monday with Randhawa threatening to file a defamation case against Mann.
Mann had on Sunday held that Capt Amarinder Singh and Randhawa had extended largesse to Ansari during the previous Congress regime and that ₹55 lakh was spent on Ansari’s “cosy stay” in Ropar jail and if Singh, who was now a BJP leader and Randhawa would not give this amount, then their pension and other benefits would be stopped by the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government.
Tearing into Mann’s allegations, Randhawa while briefing newspersons here alleged that Mann had a habit of indulging in character assassination and that he would not tolerate this humiliation and would file a defamation case against Mann. He also challenged the chief minister to issue a recovery notice to him in the regard.
It may be recalled that Ansari was in Ropar jail from 2019 to 2021 in an extortion case registered in Mohali before the Supreme Court directed the then Congress government in Punjab to give him to UP police.
Capt Amarinder flays Mann’s ignorance
Capt Amarinder Singh had reacted sharply against Mann’s statement on Sunday night only. Taking to Twitter, he asked Mann to first learn the process of law and investigation before issuing what he termed as such foolish statements that only exposed his ignorance about the process of governance. Ansari was brought to Punjab and detained here under due process of law for the investigation, so where did the CM or for that matter Prisons minister came into the picture, he asked.
‘Fokki Mahshooriyan Wali Sarkar’
Meanwhile, the Punjab Congress president Amarinder Singh Raja Warring along with Randhawa, also the former deputy CM in the previous Congress government, termed AAP government as the “Fokki Mahshooriyan Wali Sarkar’’ (a government of only fake advertisements) and dared CM Bhagwant Mann to prove his allegations levelled against Randhawa.
Instead of ordering a probe against its tainted leaders, AAP was diverting attention by levelling false allegations against Congress party leaders to hide its own failures. Mann made tall claims of corruption against former CM Charanjit Singh Channi but failed to prove any and now he was using the same tactics against Randhawa and he would fail again, he added.
Congress patronised criminals
Launching a scathing attack on Congress leaders, AAP spokesperson Malvinder Singh Kang said they patronised criminals and gangsters and now when CM Mann was questioning their loot of Punjab’s money, they were unnerved.
He held that when Capt Amarinder Singh was CM and home minister and Randhawa was jails minister, they brought most wanted gangster and gruesome criminal, who was now serving lifetime imprisonment, Mukhtar Ansari to Punjab and kept him here for almost two years with five star facilities costing Punjab for about ₹55 lakhs.