CHANDIGARH: Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal today urged the Election Commission (EC) to order the immediate arrest of Hardev Singh Laddi, the Congress candidate in the upcoming Shahkot bypoll, to "ensure a free-and-fair investigation" into a case lodged against him.
In a statement issued here, Badal said since the Model Code of Conduct was in force in Shahkot, the EC should direct the immediate arrest and custodial interrogation of the Congress candidate to "uncover his role in the mining mafia" being run in the state.
He added that this was necessary as the ruling Congress in Punjab was not only trying to "prevent action" against Laddi, but had also launched a "vilification" campaign against Mehatpur Station House Officer (SHO) Parminder Singh, who had registered the case against him.
Arresting an accused after a criminal case was registered against him was necessary to get to the bottom of sensitive cases like "theft of natural resources" as was the case with regard to Laddi, the SAD president said.
Laddi, among others, was booked by the police for alleged illegal sand mining in different villages of Jalandhar district.
The bypoll to the Shahkot Assembly constituency is scheduled to be held on May 28.
The seat had fallen vacant following the death of the incumbent MLA, Ajit Singh Kohar of the SAD.