· SAYS ALL HIGH-PROFILE CASES SOLVED, POWER TARIFF HIKE MUCH LESS UNDER HIS RULE THAN UNDER SAD-BJP GOVT.
Chandigarh, January 4: Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Saturday hit out at the Akalis for their shameless political stunts, in the wake of their threat of agitation over the power hike in the state and their ultimatum in the murder cases of two former SAD sarpanches.
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has threatened to take to the streets over the two issues, which the Chief Minister dubbed as mere theatrics, aimed at covering up their own trail of misdeeds and misgovernance of 10 years, and their continued efforts to promote their political interests. “But you can’t hide your miserable track record with these pathetic dramas,” he told the Akalis.
Lashing out at the Akali leadership over their threat of agitation if the killers of former Akali sarpanches Baba Gurdeeep Singh and Dalbir Singh Dhilwan are not arrested within two weeks, Captain Amarinder said the Punjab Police, under the present regime, was doing a much better job at solving crime cases than it ever had under the erstwhile SAD-BJP rule.
These kind of churlish ultimatums might have worked under the Akali government, when many innocent people were thrown behind bars after being charged in false cases, but under his regimen, no innocent person would be victimized for crimes they did not commit, said the Chief Minister. The police are doing a thoroughly professional job and the investigations in both cases are on track, he said, adding that these cases would also be solved, just as all others had been solved under his government.
Citing comparative data, Captain Amarinder pointed out that when in power, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) government had failed to trace even a single case of the serial targeted killings that began in January 2016, including that of Brig. Gagneja. Many hardcore ‘A’ category gangsters, such as Vicky Gounder and Prema Lahoria, had a complete free run of the State under their rule, which was marked by jungle raj, he added.
In fact, said the Chief Minister, the SAD-BJP government had specialized in transferring all difficult cases to the CBI, be it the serial killings of RSS and Hindu leaders or gangster crimes, or the various Namdhari cases, including of the sect matriarch Mata Chand Kaur. So much so that in its November 2016 report, the National Crime Records Bureau had revealed that the pendency of cases under various sections of IPC was 44.7% in Punjab by the end of 2015 – next only to 3 north-eastern states.
Despite this pathetic legacy of total collapse of law and order inherited from the Akalis, his government had made major breakthroughs in cracking various high-profile cases, while ensuring peace and security for the citizens of Punjab, the Chief Minister asserted. He cited the arrest of the criminal behind the Rs 1.33 crore cash van robbery and solving of all seven cases of radical killings in the state since his government took over.
Most of the Nabha jail break accused were arrested/neutralized, and the assailants of the Nirankari Bhavan and Maqsodan police station were quickly traced and arrested, Captain Amarinder further observed. As far as gangsters were concerned, a total of 33 ‘A’ and ‘B’ category gangsters were arrested, leading to more than 100 cases of murder, carjacking and extortion being solved, he added.
“And you have the gall to give an ultimatum to us,” the Chief Minister challenged the Akalis, asking them to give even one example of a high-profile case that the police had been able to solve under their leadership.
Captain Amarinder also reeled out data to counter the hue and cry raised by the Akalis on the issue of the power tariff hike. “Why don’t you check out your own track record before lashing out at us,” he told the SAD, citing figures to show that the percentage increase during their regime, from 2007 to 2017, was much more than what his government had implemented. The total hike under their (SAD-BJP) rule was 22.51% in 2006-07 over 2001-02, 42.13% in 2011-12 over 2006-07, 24.77% 2016-17 over 2011-12, as against a mere 13.69% in 2019-20 over 2016-17, the Chief Minister pointed out.
Further, he noted, the Akalis did not increase tariff and FCA (Fuel Cost Adjustment) surcharge for 2015-16 and, in fact, reduced it by -0.65 % during 2016-17 in view of the Assembly elections. As a result, the increase (9.33%) during 2017-18 was slightly more, but it went down to 2.17% and 1.78% in 2017-18 and 2018-19, respectively.
Mismanagement and inefficiencies were the norm under the Akali rule, asserted the Chief Minister, adding that, in less than three years, his government had transformed the face of Punjab from a poor example of governance into a progressive state, with the lawlessness of the past a forgotten chapter. “Sitting on dharnas and taking to the streets will not help you get back into the good backs of the people, who have seen through your antics and crocodile tears, and are no longer willing to trust you,” Captain Amarinder warned the Akalis.