DW BUREAU / Chandigarh
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Sunday appealed to the Punjab and Haryana hight court Chief Justice to probe the extortion racket led by Bathinda based Congress leaders who were imposing goonda tax in the form of Jojo Service Tax (JST) on sand and gravel being used in projects in the Bathinda refinery.
SAD spokesman Maheshinder Singh Grewal said since two companies who were supplying sand and gravel to the Bathinda refinery had submitted proof against the Bathinda mining mafia to the district administration, it was a fit case for an inquiry by a sitting judge of the high court. “The complaint by construction firm owner Ashok Bansal clearly states that he was threatened by a frontman of Congress district president Narinder Bhaleria who himself reports to Bathinda mla and finance minister Manpreet Badal. Bhaleria is also a relative of Congress Rampura Phul legislator Gurpreet Singh Kangar”.
Stating that a judicial inquiry was a must, the SAD leader said the local police could not be expected to take action against these Congress leaders who enjoyed the protection of FM Manpreet Badal. He said similarly no action was expected against the finance minister’s brother in law Jaijeet Singh Johal whose involvement in the extortion racket was even raised by minister Tript Rajinder Bajwa in a cabinet meeting.
Grewal said in a unprecedented development recently, the finance minister’s wife Veenu Badal presided over an official police function even though she did not hold any official post in the government.
“While this shows the influence Veenu Badal holds over the district administration and prevalence of Halka incharge system, it also proves that the district police cannot be expected to proceed against her brother and his cohorts.
This is why no action has been taken against any of the senior Congress leaders who are being accused of collecting goonda tax by various contractors of both the Bathinda refinery as well as the Bhisiana Air Force Station. The Bathinda refinery, which is the largest investor of the State, has also complained about goonda tax levy”, he added.
While asserting that Jojo Johal should be questioned about his role in this sordid affair, Maheshinder Grewal said this would be possible only in case the inquiry was in the hands of the high court.
“Everyone knows that people collecting goonda tax call the shots in the finance minister’s office in Bathinda”.