Arrest of Chairman Hardeep has Himachal government in quandary

Shimla: Haryana police having arrested Hardeep Singh, who is Chairman  HP Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board in Himachal, has the government in a fix with chief minister Virbhadra Singh stating that the government would wait and watch before taking any action in the matter.

With Hardeep Singh languishing in judicial custody with the Haryana Police, the issue rocked the Himachal Pradesh assembly with Speaker BBL Butail pacifying an agitated opposition by informing the house that the chief minister would be making a statement regarding the matter.

Hardeep BawaReading out a statement, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, who holds the home portfolio, informed the house that Hardeep Singh was held on March 26, 2013 and is booked under Section 147, 148, 149, 323, 341 and 506 of IPC and Section 25, 54 and 59 of Arms Act by the Haryana Police. First Information Report (FIR No 245) in the case was lodged on 16th October, 2003, he said.

Two others booked for the same offence stand acquitted by the Supreme Court, said Virbhadra. This information was gathered by the state government after a HP Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) had a telephonic conversation with the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Ambala, he added.

With the opposition members on their feed questioning the delay on the government’s part in sacking the Chairman as he was in judicial custody for more than 48 hours, Virbhadra said, “we will wait and watch before taking any such action as the government has not received any official information about the case. We are trying to make contact with Haryana Police to seek out more details.”

Senior BJP leader Ravinder Ravi said that even if the government was unaware before elevating Hardeep Singh as a chairman that he had been evading the law since 2003 but was now failing to act even after knowing well that the law had caught up on him and he was lodged inside a jail.

Virbhadra clarified that there was no notice served on the accused when he was elevated as chairman, however the government would consider his removal after getting more information.

Opposition leader Prem Kumar Dhumal insisted that the government act against the accused chairman as the chief minister was aware of the facts and had stated them on the floor of the Vidhan Sabha. “Some advisors are misguiding the chief minister for he can very well take cognizance from the facts gathered over telephone by police officers of Himachal from their Haryana counterparts,” said Dhumal.

The opposition leader also pointed out that Ram Kumar Chaudhary, elected on a Congress ticket, was suspended from the party soon after he was arrested by Haryana Police in a murder case, but the government was looking the other way even after Hardeep Singh had been arrested.

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