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SAD seeks probe into misappropriation of seized hawala money

Press Trust of India  |  Chandigarh 

The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Monday urged the Punjab chief electoral officer to order a probe into the allegations of a church priest who had accused the police of misappropriation of seized hawala money.

"The SAD asked Punjab's CEO to order an independent probe into the misappropriation of Rs 6.6 crore from a priest. This seemed to have happened with the connivance of the Congress party and its leaders and could be used to influence voters," a delegation of Akali Dal leaders alleged after meeting Chief Electoral Officer S Karuna Raju here.

On Saturday, the Punjab police had claimed to have recovered Rs 9.66 crore of "hawala" money from six people, including a church priest, Anthony, in Doraha city of Ludhiana district. The next day, Anthony held a press conference accusing the Khanna police of showing Rs 9.66 crore instead of the Rs 16.65 crore seized from them and claimed that the cash was accounted for. The police, however, had described these allegations as "baseless".

The Akail delegation that met the Punjab chief electoral officer included leaders like Daljit Singh Cheema, Sikander Singh Maluka and Charanjit Singh Brar.

"We have reason to believe that the remaining Rs 6.99 crore has been misappropriated at the instance of the Congress party and will be used to influence voters. The Election Commission needs to take strong notice of this and order an independent probe to ensure this money is not misused against their political rivals in the forthcoming parliamentary poll, Cheema said.

Meanwhile, the Akali Dal also sought withdrawal of the directions of the chief electoral officer to the police to take appropriate action against prominent Akali leaders and workers who blocked roads during a dharna in 2017.

The SAD delegation called the instructions "unfair". It said the protest had occurred after a "dastardly" attack on Akali leaders and workers in Makhu town of Ferozepur district following rejection of their nomination papers in the civic body elections. They claimed that false cases were registered against the senior Akali leadership and workers.

Notably, three RTI activists, in a complaint sent to the Punjab CEO, had claimed that senior Akali leaders, including Sukhbir Badal and Bikram Singh Majithia, were booked under cognizable offences for blocking national and state highways in December 2017 and they were yet to be arrested as they had not secured bail.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, April 01 2019. 20:30 IST