PM security breach: Majithia seeks NIA probe into leaked audio, Punjab ex-DGP denies allegations

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PM security breach: Majithia seeks NIA probe into leaked audio, Punjab ex-DGP denies allegations
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Akali Dal leader Bikram Singh Majithia on Wednesday sought an NIA probe into the security breach during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Punjab visit erlier this month in the light of what he alleged was a “meeting” between former Punjab DGP Siddharth Chattopadhyaya and Sarabjit Singh, a proclaimed offender wanted in the multi-crore Jagdish Bhola drug racket.

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Majithia alleged this has come to the light in the leaked audio tapes, in which Chattopadhaya is purportedly told by Sarabjit to affect recoveries of RDX, explosives and weapons and thereby “open eyes of [Prime Minister] Modi in four to five days”.

Majithia’s remarks come a day after Punjab and Haryana High Court stayed his arrest for three days, giving him time to move the Supreme Court and challenge his bail dismissal in a drugs case.

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Denying the allegations, Chattopadhyaya told The Indian Express:. “Who has produced these tapes? What is the source and authenticity of these tapes? I have not heard any tapes. There was no such meeting at my residence. This is all nonsense; false.”

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Referring to media reports on the purported tapes, Majithia claimed that Punjab CM Charanjit Singh Channi, Deputy CM Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and Chattopadhyaya will not be able to get away if an inquiry is held.

According the tapes Majithia referred to, the alleged meeting took place in the last week of December, days before the security breach, which left Modi stranded on a flyover in Ferozepur before he went back, cancelling his Punjab visit.

Majithia told the media, “Chattopadhyaya is calling Sarabjit beta (son) and telling him to take care of himself. Which law allows him to meet a PO at his residence?”

Majithia said the court should take suo motu notice of the alleged conversationas purportedly brought forward by the leaked audio, in which a discussion could be heard on how to shift people from jail and finding two houses in Mohali to keep people in illegal confinement, among others.

Majithia said, “If a case can be registered against me on the basis of a statement by Bhola, who later also said he never met Majithia, why cannot a case be registered when a PO is telling him (Chattopadhyaya) that Rs 4.25 crore transaction took place [in a drugs case]?” He alleged that Sarabjit said the STF took Rs 4.25 crore in another drugs case and instead of asking who took the money, the then DGP allegedly told him “Beta eh gal agge kite karni nahi (Son, don’t talk about this to anyone).”

Majithia also alleged that Sarabjit was associated with anti-drugs unit STF chief Harpreet Singh Sidhu during the latter’s stint in CRPF and was declared a PO in a case in Vidisha district of Madhya Pradesh.

Dismissing this, Harpreet Sidhu said, “I never remained posted in Madhya Pradesh. I had a stint with CRPF in Chhattisgarh. Sarabjit worked under me when I was serving as I-G in Punjab. After his role surfaced in a drugs case, he was shunted out.”

On the alleged Rs 4.25-crore transaction in a drugs case, as could he heard purportedly being said in the audio tapes, Sidhu said, “It is a baseless remark. During the period after registration of the case, when I held the charge till December 2, 2020, nothing of this sort occurred. I earnestly welcome any probe into this and assure that STF would assist in any such enquiry.”

On Majithia’s allegations, Chattopadhyaya said, “If there is any veracity, it will be looked into. At the moment, these are totally false allegations, being made by people without any depth and just as a counter-charge.”

Asserting that an FIR against Majithia was registered on the basis of the Enforcement Directorate recording “certain statements of people who are accused in drug matters and have said they have been living, moving and staying in his house”, Chattopadhyaya said, “Has he (Majithia) given any clarification on that?”

Chattopadhaya said he was being targeted to “create a fear psychosis among junior officers to make them feel threatened by projecting that when (a) DGP has been attacked, then what might happen at the lower level”.

“What is meant by leak of tapes? Has anyone come authoritatively and said something,” he asked. Questioning the role of Chandigarh police also in the matter, he said, “Two people are reported to be in custody of Chandigarh police. Is there a leak from Chandigarh police? Does it mean there is a purpose? Is somebody trying to help Bikram Majithia? Something suspicious is going on.

“There is some conscious effort by somebody involved with the drug mafia. Someday, the truth will come out and I am absolutely certain of that.”

Chattopadhyaya, who served as DGP for 22 days before V K Bhawra replaced him earlier this month, said that immediately after he took over there were incidents of sacrilege and the Ludhiana court bomb blast, and that he “mobilised all resources to tackle the situation”. The Ludhiana blast case, he added, was solved within 24 hours.

“Such incidents did not happen before I took over, or after I relinquished charge as DGP,” he said. “There was a pattern the moment I joined as DGP. They felt a threat. They are those who are involved…whether they are politicians or officers or criminals or mafia — whoever they are, they felt a threat…”

Majithia asks EC to hold Cong government accountable for ‘violating’ HC order

Addressing the media, Majithia appealed the Election Commission to hold the Congress government accountable for “violating High Court directives” and conducting raids on his residence and harassing his family members even before the court passed its final verdict on his anticipatory bail plea.

The Akali leader said attempts were being made to prevent him from contesting the Assembly elections. He said, “It seems the law is different for me and the same rules are not applied to Congressmen — be it Sukhpal Khaira, who is accused of drug smuggling, or Sidhu Moosewala, who is accused of firing an AK-47, or even Lok Insaaf Party leader Simarjeet Singh Bains, against whom non-bailable warrants have been issued. No raids have been conducted at their houses.”

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