Punjab Congress candidate Hardev Singh Laddi contesting Shakot by-election booked on charges of illegal mining
This development is seen as a major setback for the ruling Congress in this by-poll as the party had announced Laddi as its candidate overlooking several complaints against him.
CHANDIGARH: Within 24 hours from the announcement of his candidature for the ruling Congress in the Shakot by-election scheduled for May 28, Hardev Singh Laddi Sherowalia is an accused along with two others in an illegal sand mining case.
The Punjab Police today morning registered a case against Laddi along with contractor of Kaimvala quarry Surjit Singh and Ashwinder Singh of Malsian under the Section 21 of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act and the Section 379 of the IPC at Mehatpur police station.
The case has been registered against them on the complaint of Mohan Singh, General Secretary of Brick Kiln Labourers Union who hails from Malri village in Nakodar. As he had given the complaint to district returning officer who marked it down to the police.
“The contractor and halqa in-charge of Congress Laddi had been digging-up even the panchayat land in Kaimwala village for mining purposes on war footing. Illegal mining was also being carried out by the two in Raipur Gujjran, Gauswal, Chholia, Baloki, Burhewal, Khurlapur, Chak Bahmanian, Pipli Mehni, Umarwal Bila and Gag Dhagara villages. Digging was being carried out day and night in violation of labour rights. They were also working on an illegal quarry in Gatti Jatta village at Dharamkot, Moga,” stated the complaint.
This development is seen as a major setback for the ruling Congress in this by-poll as the party had announced Laddi as its candidate on Thursday overlooking several complaints against him.
Laddi termed it is political conspiracy to defame him and said, "I am consulting my lawyers on this as I don't even know who the complainant is. It is hand work of the akalis’’ Laddi had lost to former Akali minister and five-time MLA Ajit Singh Kohar by 4,905 votes in the assembly elections.
Kohar died in February this year. Laddi will now contesting against his son and SAD candidate Naib Singh Kohar.
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) gheraoed the SDM-cum-RO Shahkot's office in the afternoon demanding Laddi's arrest in the case. SAD senior Vice President and MP Ranjit Singh Brahmpura said as per the case registered against Laadi by the Punjab Police, the Congress leader had been prima-facia found guilty of theft of natural resources under Section 379 which itself amounted to moral turpitude.
"This is a charge which has been made against Laadi by his own government dispensation and exposes the double standards of the Congress party on the issue of corruption and mining mafia."
Brahmpura said it was strange that on the one hand Rahul Gandhi wanted to take credit for dropping Rana Gurjit Singh from the Punjab cabinet and had also claimed to have adopted the same parameter to deny the party ticket to the Reddy brothers in Karnataka.
“However in the case of Laadi, despite the presence of a video which proved the Congress leader’s role in illegal mining, Rahul Gandhi chose to bestow him with the party nomination. The people need to know why such benevolence was shown to a mafia kingpin despite written complaints on this issue to the party high command”, Brahmpura asked.