resolution in Punjab Depends on the fate of three key appointments made by the new government after the resignation of Navjot Singh Sidhu – Rana Gurjit Singh as Cabinet Minister, APS Deol as Advocate General (AG) and Iqbal Preet Singh Sahota as Director General of Police (DGP). was appointed. ) of Punjab
Sources said Sidhu wants to appoint senior 1986-batch IPS officer Siddharth Chattopadhyay as DGP and senior advocate DS Patwalia as AG. He also wants to remove Rana Gurjit Singh, MLA from Kapurthala, from the post of cabinet minister. The decision on the DGP is yet to be approved by the UPSC, but the Charanjit Singh Channi government has given additional charge of the post to Sahota. Chattopadhyay will retire in March next year while Sahota, a 1988 batch, will retire next August.
Sidhu’s allegation against Sahota is that as in-charge of the first Special Investigation Team (SIT) set up by the Badal regime in 2015, he had allegedly given a clean chit to Badal as well as Baba Ram Rahim of Dera Sacha Sauda in sacrilege. . Case Sidhu camp says that this SIT had falsely arrested two youths and wrongly accused of a foreign conspiracy. However, Channi Sarkar argues that Sahota’s SIT worked for only 20 days before the CBI took over the case and Sahota’s SIT never gave a clean chit to anyone.
Sidhu’s objection as AG against APS Deol is that he has been the counsel for former DGP Sumedh Singh Saini and has secured bail for him in various cases. Saini is also under investigation in the cases of police firing after the sacrilege of Behbal Kalan. Sidhu was, in fact, presenting senior advocate Patwalia as AG. Sidhu is asking how a lawyer representing Saini will now prosecute him. However, the Channi government has argued that it is going to appoint a special public prosecutor with a team of 10 lawyers to look into “important matters” and hence there should be no concern.
However, sources say that the Channi government may change its options to that of the DGP and AG as “the CM was flexible and respected Sidhu’s view”. However, fulfilling Sidhu’s demand to remove Rana Gurjit Singh from the cabinet will be the most difficult task for Channi. Singh not only holds electoral significance for the party in the Doaba region, but is also seen as someone who can manage electoral funding for the party after the exit of Captain Amarinder Singh. Sidhu says that Singh’s removal from the cabinet in 2018 was due to allegations of his involvement with the sand mining mafia and his inclusion compromises the non-corruption stand taken by Sidhu.
Sidhu has also upset the handing over of the home ministry to deputy CM Sukhjinder Randhawa and CM Channi’s growing closeness with state finance minister Manpreet Badal, with the CM seeking Manpreet’s counsel on most issues instead of Sidhu. But the Congress government is not ready to weaken the Chief Minister in any way by engaging with Sidhu on these issues as Sidhu has not yet officially raised him. Manpreet Badal was instrumental in making Channi the Chief Minister.