Chandigarh : Former minister and senior Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Bikram Singh Majithia today demanded institution of a free and fair independent probe into the serious allegations of moral turpitude and corruption leveled against Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann by a close friend and Non Resident Indian (NRI) from Canada.
In a statement here, Mr Bikram Majithia said “a former close friend of the chief minister – Jagmandeep Singh has recounted the latter’s visit to Canada when he was part of the People’s Party of Punjab (PPP) during the course of which the NRI claimed Mr Bhagwant Mann had indulged in wanton drinking sessions, acts of moral turpitude and collected unaccounted for money from the NRI community”.
Mr Majithia said it was surprising that neither the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) nor the chief minister had reacted to the allegations till now. “Such issues cannot be swept under the carpet as Punjab has seen in the case of moral misconduct charges against Lalchand Kataruchak and others. Anyone accused of moral turpitude should be probed, including the chief minister. It is incumbent on the chief minister to present his account of the allegations made against him as he is a public person. Accordingly he should give his assent to an independent probe into the entire matter”.
Asserting that the allegations made by the NRI should be put to test, Mr Majithia said “the NRI has agreed to join an appropriate probe and is willing to present proofs, including video films, to the probing agency. A via media should be found to record the testimony of the NRI as well as conduct forensic examination of all the incriminating evidence in the possession of the NRI”. He said due coordination could also be undertaken with the Canadian authorities to complete this process in a smooth manner.
Asking the chief minister not to come in the way of a free and fair probe into the entire incident, Mr Majithia said “you cannot wish away the allegations made against you by resorting to false bravado. Only an independent probe can bring out the truth and you should not run away from this probe”.
Majithia said some of the allegations made by NRI Jagmandeep, particularly the chief minister’s drinking habits and wayward behavior, were in consonance with the behavior exhibited by Mr Bhagwant Mann during the past several years.
He said the chief minister had presented himself in an inebriated condition in the presence of Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji on a particular occasion as well as at Takth Damdama Sahib. “It is known that he swore an oath on his mother that he would stop liquor consumption at a public function at the instance of AAP Convener Arvind Kejriwal during the run up to the 2022 assembly elections. However when he became chief minister, he was de-planed from Frankfurt as he was found to be in an inebriated condition and unfit to travel”.
Mr Majithia said all these facts, which were already in public domain, necessitated the need for a rigorous probe into the allegations made by NRI Jagmandeep.