Chandigarh:  The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today said Pradesh Congress President Navjot Sidhu had become the biggest champion of the sand and liquor mafia in the State after extending his complete support to tainted Congress legislator Madan Lal Jalalpur despite an open rebellion by Congress workers of more than hundred villages of Ghanuar constituency against the legislator.

Stating that Navjot Sidhu had revealed his true face with this gesture, SAD Spokesman Dr Daljit Singh Cheema said the same Sidhu who used to issue grandiose statements against the sand and liquor mafia was now openly supporting them even at the risk of opposing Congress workers.

Reacting to Sidhu’s visit to Madan Lal Jalalpur’s residence yesterday after sarpanches, block samiti and zila parishad members of hundred villages of Ghanaur urged the Congress not to allot the party ticket to the legislator, the SAD leader said “if Sidhu is so sure about the honesty of Jalalpur he should tell what action he has taken against his own party men who are accusing their legislator of running an illegal sand and liquor mafia”.

Stating that the truth is something else, Dr Cheema said the mafia and those who patronize it including Madan Lal Jalalpur, Hardyal Kamboj, Gurkirat Singh Kotli, Darshan Brar and Kulbir Zira are now Sidhu’s biggest supporters. “The alacrity with which Sidhu has compromised with the mafia and is openly extending patronage to it proves that he was all along befooling Punjabis with a make believe opposition of the mafia before becoming the PCC President”.

Asking Sidhu not to believe the SAD but to peruse the records of the Patiala police to gain complete knowledge about the activities of Jalalpur, Dr Cheema said the seizure of an illegal distillery belonging to a close confidant of the Ghanaur legislator had revealed that the unit had done a business of more than Rs 100 crore in a few months. “The Patiala police and excise department gave interviews to the media that the accused was running the distillery along with Congress politicians of the area”. He said it was shocking that despite this proof as well as public proof in the form of Congress workers of the region who had openly named Jalalpur in the case, Sidhu was still supporting the legislator.

Dr Cheema said this was not all. Jalalpur had also been accused of being behind the attack on Mining department general manager T S Sekhon. He said the mining officer was held captive and beaten up inside a police station in Ghanaur after he tried to stop a truck indulging in illegal mining. “The officer even gave a statement that illegal mining in Ghanaur was being done at the behest of Jalalpur. All this is part of record”.

The SAD leader asked the PCC president to disclose why he was patronizing the sand and liquor mafia and whether this was part of the directives given to him by the Congress high command which had also never spoken out against the mafia.

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