The ongoing row involving Punjab Youth Congress leaders putting the photograph of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on 108 ambulances has assumed another colour with the Amritsar police registering a case under the Punjab Prevention of Defacement of Property Act, 1997 on Sunday.
The case has been filed against Youth Congress leader Vikas Soni and seven to eight unknown persons for putting the photo of Manmohan Singh on Dial 108 Ambulances that already carries the photo of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.
The development left the Punjab Youth Congress miffed. “How can they book Youth Congress leaders, when the ambulance in question is a part of a centrally-sponsored scheme under the National Rural Health Mission,” party chief Vikramjit Singh Chaudhary said, adding that, “ I have been informed that Congress workers at a few other places have also been slapped with similar cases”.
“Putting a photograph of Badal on ambulances that are part of a centrally-sponsored scheme is even more serious and amounts to defacement of property,” Chaudhary told The Indian Express.
The 108 ambulance service issue has snowballed into a big controversy with Youth Congress leaders taking to the streets to put photo of the Prime Minister on the ambulances in an attempt to drive home their point that it was the UPA government that had sponsored the service.
Youth Akali Dal members led by Manjit Singh Manna, on Sunday, reacted to the move of Youth Congress leaders by pasting photographs of Punjab CM, Deputy CM Sukhbir Badal and cabinet minister Bikram Singh Majithia at Amritsar Railway Station in what they called a ‘tit for tat’ policy to paste Akali leaders’ photos on Union government establishments.
Manna had slammed the Congress for “trying to take credit for the development works being done by the SAD and five time CM P S Badal”.
“Now that the police have registered a case against me, a similar case of defacement of property should be registered against Akali leaders, as well,” said Youth Congress leader Vikas Soni.
Amritsar Commissioner of Police Ram Singh said that if the accused submitted a petition to challenge the case, the police would look into it. He said he had no idea about any Akali leader putting photographs of Badals and Majithia at the Amritsar Railway Station.
Assistant Sub-Inspector Gurdev Singh, the inquiry officer in the case against Soni, said the case was registered after a “thorough investigation”. Incidentally, the complainant in the case