Two cases registered within a week against candidates of Panthic Morcha, contesting SGPC polls, are raising a storm in political circles here, with opposition candidates questioning "free and fair" conduct of polls.
The latest case has been registered by the excise department in Patiala against Panthic Morcha candidate from Dakala, Surjit Singh, in an incident of liquor seizure. Last week, police had booked another morcha candidate for allegedly molesting a girl. In the latest incident, three days back an excise team led by inspector Upkar Singh seized 500 cases of liquor from Ajrour village. But when the excise officers asked for documents of liquor, the employees could not give any reply and fled.
Assistant excise and taxation commissioner H P S Ghotra, told media persons, "After the seizure, our inspector received a call from Surjit Singh. He asked him (inspector) to release the liquor stock, claiming that he (Surjit) was a partner of the liquor vendor. Now, Surjit has started leveling allegations against us to escape legal action," Ghotra claimed. The licence of the liquor vend was later found to be in the name of one Manjit Singh, officials said.
"Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leaders are trying to pressurize me to withdraw my nomination. But when I refused they got me implicated in this false case. I have filed a petition in Punjab and Haryana high court on Tuesday for protection as Punjab government may implicate me in more false cases," alleged Surjit Singh. "Why the excise authorities remained silent for initial two days if I had called them up, asked Surjit, while questioning excise officials' version.
Earlier, Panthic Morcha leaders had alleged that Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal and deputy CM, Sukhbir Badal, who conducted rallies to support their candidates on Monday, had been threatening them through their men to implicate them in false cases if they didn't withdraw their nominations in the favour of SAD candidates. Some claimed they were offered state level positions in SAD setup.
"My wife Kamaljit Kaur has withdrawn her nomination from Sanaur constituency after threats. All this has been happening on the directions of CM and DCM," alleged one Gurmohan Singh.
Denying allegations against SAD, party general secretary Prem Singh Chandumajra, said, "They are leveling baseless allegations after realizing that they would not be able to win elections.''
34 candidates are trying their luck for 10 SGPC seats in Patiala. Nearly 84 persons had filed nominations, but 47 withdrew their papers. And the papers of three candidates were rejected during scrutiny.