Terming the attack on Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal’s cavalcade as Congress ploy to cover up its failures, SAD on Friday demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the case.

Addressing a joint Press conference, senior SAD leaders Maheshinder Singh Grewal, Sharanjit Singh Dhillon and Daljit Singh Cheema said besides CBI probe, appropriate cases should be registered against the perpetrators of the attack and action should be taken against concerned police officers for dereliction of duty.

The Akali leaders said it was clear from video clips taken on the occasion, that the attack on the SAD president had the blessings of the Congress government and that the entire incident had been planned and executed at the instance of the ruling party.

They said even after the incident, despite the fact that all the culprits had been videographed and could be easily identified, the state police had registered bailable cases against unidentified persons. “The very fact that the state police diluted the charges by refusing to book the assailants under Section 307 (attempt to murder) besides not observing the guidelines of the blue book which is compulsory in all such incidents involving Z plus security proctectees, proves it is working as a wing of the Congress party,” Grewal said.

Stating that the SAD would explore all legal options to ensure appropriate punishment for the culprits as well as police officials who sheltered them and even allowed them to break the security cordon of the SAD president, Cheema said only CBI probe can unmask the political conspiracy behind the incident.

The SAD leaders said a party delegation would also meet Union home minister Rajnath Singh and apprise him of the incident besides urging for necessary action in the matter. The Akali leaders said all police officials who had given a free rein to the handful of propped up protesters to attack the cavalcade should be identified and appropriate action should be taken against them. They said it should also be ascertained how the route plan of a Z plus protectees was leaked to facilitate the attack on his cavalcade.

The SAD leaders also alleged the ruling Congress was establishing a very dangerous precedent by orchestrating attacks on Akali leaders in order portray it as people’s anger against the party and cover its failure to fulfill pre-poll promises.

“The success of the SAD’s Abohar and Faridkot rallies unnerved the Congress. Now its failure to attract people for its Lambi show despite the use of strong-arm tactics by seven ministers camping permanently in Lambi has unhinged the party and it is now taking recourse to violence to intimidate the SAD,” they said.

Forth unidentified persons have been booked for attacking Sukhbir’s cavalcade on Wednesday. The incident took place in Sangrur when SAD president was going to address a workers’ meeting at the Gurdwara in a bid to mobilise support for his party’s rally in Patiala scheduled for October 7.