A few hours after former Punjab minister and Congress leader Sadhu Singh Dharamsot was picked up from his residence in Almoh, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders and government machinery went into overdrive to announce the arrest of the “VIP politician” in a graft case, a stark contrast from being on the backfoot after the killing of Punjabi singer Sidhu Moose Wala nine days ago.
Ever since the murder of Moose Wala on May 29, the day after his security was pruned, the Bhagwant Mann government has found itself under fire from a united opposition. The killing has even taken a political colour with the by-election to the Sangrur parliamentary constituency round the corner. The Punjab police have been found wanting, not just in terms of intelligence gathering as a run-up to the crime, but also in nabbing the actual shooters.
The opposition now sees AAP trying to “divert” the criticism by what it alleges are political arrests. “Mann sahib, as expected, you want to deflect main issues of lawlessness, unemployment and interference of Kejriwal & others in Punjab by arresting S. Sadhu Dharamsot. Let law take its own course Pl do not make it Kangaroo Court justice. Political vendetta shall boomerang,” tweeted Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh Warring.
He alleged that the massive intelligence failure that first led to the partial withdrawal of security and then the failure to arrest the killers had exposed the functioning of the AAP government on the law and order front. The Aam Aadmi Party on the other hand has trashed these allegations, claiming that the arrest was hurting the Congress as the leaders feared more could be “punished” for corruption.
“Rampant corruption by former Congress Minister went unchecked despite evidence. Only AAP has political will to bring mighty to justice. Today’s arrest is reassertion of fact that @BhagwantMann has zero tolerance towards corruption, whether it’s his own minister or former ministers,” tweeted AAP leader Raghav Chadha.
The Vigilance Bureau has also named former minister Sangat Singh Gilzian in the FIR but he is yet to be arrested.
Sources said that more arrests in the case were in the offing. Reliable government sources said that the Mann administration is also contemplating following up on charges of corruption against some senior Congress leaders and could effect more arrests in the coming days even as the opposition is stepping up pressure on the Moose Wala killing case.