A blame game today erupted between the chief ministers of Haryana and Punjab over the arrest of Honeypreet Insan, who claims to be the adopted daughter of jailed Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.
A blame game today erupted between the chief ministers of Haryana and Punjab over the arrest of Honeypreet Insan, who claims to be the adopted daughter of jailed Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. While Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar accused the Punjab Police of not sharing information with its Haryana counterpart ahead of her arrest on October 3, Punjab CM Amarinder Singh alleged that the allegations were an attempt to shift attention from the situation in Haryana. “The Punjab Police should have informed the Haryana Police about Honeypreet’s whereabouts earlier. Something smells fishy,” Khattar told reporters here today.
He was responding to questions about Honeypreet appearing before some media channels hours ahead of her arrest.
“This (delay in her arrest) has happened due to the Punjab Police. How much the Punjab police helped (her) and how much was in their knowledge…If it was in their knowledge they should have passed information to the Haryana police and handed her over to them,” he claimed. After Honeypreet’s interrogation, many things would come out in the open, he said adding that innocent people would be punished and guilty would not be spared. On being asked whether any political leader was involved in shielding Honeypreet, he said that it was not appropriate to comment on the issue as the interrogation was underway.
“As things come, they will become clear,” he said. However, again commenting about Punjab police, Khattar said, “I already said this about Punjab police that their people and their cars were present, something smells fishy,” he said. He was apparently referring to a raid by the Haryana Police in Rajasthan to nab Honeypreet on September 22. Meanwhile, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh lambasted Khattar, for raising questions about the role of the Punjab Police in the case.
Singh asked Khattar to refrain from such alleged “fabrications to shield his own government’s failure” in the Dera Sacha Sauda case.
He alleged that after trying “unsuccessfully to pin the blame for the Panchkula violence on the Punjab government”, Khattar was once again trying to divert public attention from the collapse of the law and order in Haryana since the rape conviction of Dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. Significantly, Amarinder Singh is leading a Congress government in Punjab while Khattar leads a BJP government in neighbouring Haryana. Rejecting claims of any involvement of the Punjab government or any of its institutions, the Punjab chief minister said if the state police had any information about Honeypreet they would have shared it with their Haryana counterparts.
Amarinder Singh, in a statement hours after Khattar’s remarks, said reports, in fact, claimed that a senior Haryana Police officer had known about Honeypreet’s whereabouts for several days but had failed to arrest her. He alleged that instead of probing the role of his own officials, Khattar was trying to shift focus to Punjab. He trashed Khattar’s charges that the Punjab Police had failed to give intelligence inputs to the police in the neighbouring state. Amarinder Singh said the Punjab Police had been giving regular inputs to their counterparts in Haryana even before the hearing in Ram Rahim’s case in Panchkula. He claimed that the Haryana government and police had failed to take cognisance, or act on the information.
The chief minister said though the Punjab Police was not pursuing Honeypreet as she was not wanted in any case in the state, there was no question of shielding her. Khattar should focus on taking the case to its logical conclusion and on maintaining law and order in Haryana, instead of wasting time and energy in concocting false charges against the Punjab government and the police, he said. Honeypreet was arrested by the Haryana Police from the Zirakpur-Patiala in Punjab on Tuesday. The Haryana police are probing her role in the violence which broke out following Ram Rahim Singh’s conviction and left 41 dead.
Meanwhile, sources said that the Haryana Police is mulling a narco test on Honeypreet since she was proving tough to interrogate offering only nods and silences to the 40-odd questions put by the SIT. Honeypreet and another arrested woman, Sukhdeep Kaur, were taken to Bathinda in Punjab today in connection with the investigations into the violence that broke out after Ram Rahim Singh’s conviction. A Haryana Police team took the two accused from Panchkula to Rampura Phul Sadar police station in Bathinda district where they were questioned for close to half an hour. Afterwards, the police team took the two women to an old house in Arya Nagar in Bathinda for questioning. The inmates of the house, which was found locked, were said to be connected to Dera Sacha Sauda.
Earlier, the Haryana police had said that Kaur had “confirmed that Honeypreet was with her for the past several days in Bathinda district of Punjab.” Honeypreet, who is on a six-day police remand, was at the top of a list of 43 people ‘wanted’ by the Haryana Police in connection with the incidents of violence. Panchkula Police Commissioner A S Chawla had earlier said that Honeypreet was taken into custody by the SIT in-charge (Mukesh Kumar) from the Zirakpur-Patiala road in Punjab. Chawla alleged that the role of a relative of Ram Rahim Singh, who is a politician, was under the scanner. Meanwhile, Harminder Singh Jassi, a former Congress MLA from Punjab, told media today that the last time he had met Honeypreet was on the intervening night of August 25 and August 26.
“I never provided shelter to Honeypreet. After a lookout notice was issued against her (on Sep 1) by the Haryana police, she did not meet me,” he said. The accusations of sheltering Honeypreet against me are “baseless”, he said adding that he would quit politics if the allegations are proved. Asked about his visit to Sri Gurusar Modia village in Rajasthan, the native place of Ram Rahim Singh who is serving a 20-year prison sentence, Jassi said he had gone to meet his daughter.