Monday, September 2, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Chautala ‘shielding’ Ravi Kant
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 1
Mr Pratap Singh, a former MLA and younger brother of Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala, alleged today that his brother was sheltering Mr Ravi Kant Sharma, IPS, the prime suspect in the Shivani Bhatnagar murder case, because he (Mr Chautala) “wants to spite the Delhi police”.

Talking to newsmen here Mr Pratap Singh said since the Delhi police had “exposed” the links of Mr Chautala’s sons, Ajay and Abhay, with antisocial elements, the Chief Minister was annoyed with it. Therefore, to project the Delhi police in a bad light, Mr Chautala was shielding the former I.G. (Prisons).

Mr Pratap Singh, who is known for spitting venom on Mr Chautala and his sons, was in a particularly devastating mood today. He alleged that the jail authorities in Haryana were unauthorisedly releasing notorious criminals at the behest of Mr Abhay Chautala, younger son of the Chief Minister, who is the MLA from Rori, at night. After committing heinous crimes, he alleged, these criminals returned to the jails in the morning.

Showing photographs and an abridged version of a video of a government-sponsored function held in Sirsa district on April 30, to newsmen, Mr Pratap Singh alleged that Abhay was maintaining close contact with at least two notorious criminals. One was an MLA of UP., Mr Mukhtiar Ahmed Ansari, who was expelled from the BSP, after the CBI accused him of being the brain behind the kidnapping and murder of Mr Nand Kishore Roongta, the then Treasurer of the VHP. Though Mr Ansari was acquitted by the trial court, an appeal against him is pending in the Allahabad High Court. Recently, he surrendered before a UP court after a Delhi court ordered the attachment of his property.

The photographs displayed by Mr Pratap Singh showed Mr Ansari sitting along with Abhay on the dais in the front row at a function organised to mark the “bhoomipujan” of a government engineering college at Panniwala Mota in Sirsa district, which was organised by the Technical Education Department. Interestingly, the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker of the Vidhan Sabha, Mr Satbir Singh Kadian, and Mr Gopi Chand Gahlot were also seen in the photographs and the video. Earlier, he alleged, the Sirsa police had allowed one Prabhjinder Singh Brar alias Dimpy, who was the right hand man of Mr Ansari, to escape from police custody.

Another alleged criminal, Mr Pratap Singh, said seen in the photographs was Rajesh Saharan, who, he said, was wanted by the Rajasthan police in the infamous J.C. Bose Hostel, Jaipur, gang-rape case, which took place when Mr Bhairon Singh Shekhawat was the Chief Minister of that state. Alleging that Rajesh was enjoying protection of Abhay, Mr Pratap Singh said though he (Rajesh) was a resident of Rajasthan, a passport (B-009762) was issued to him from the Regional Passport Office, Chandigarh, on December 21, 1999, on the basis of a false police report in which he was shown as a resident of Chautala, the native village of the first family of the state.

Mr Pratap Singh said he had written a letter to the Rajasthan Chief Minister, Mr Ashok Gehlot, regarding the presence of Rajesh in Haryana. He alleged Mr Gehlot, who had made a hue and cry when the gang-rape took place, was now not taking action because Rajesh was related to a senior Congress leader, Mr Balram Jakhar. He said he had also written to Mrs Sonia Gandhi in this regard. But it seemed that someone in Mrs Gandhi’s office was “intercepting” her letters.

He alleged the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, had disconnected the power and water supply to the Devi Lal memorial at Kilanwali, near Dabwali. He said the Haryana Government should request Punjab to hand over this memorial to the former for maintenance. He, however, criticised Mr Chautala for bringing “disrepute” to Mr Devi Lal by erecting his numerous statues in the state.

Mr Pratap Singh said he would join electoral politics once again.

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