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SAD condemns Mann for backing proposal for NIA offices in states

The party alleged that Mann was colluding with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to destroy the federal structure of the country.

Statesman News Service | Chandigarh |

The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) accused Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann of placing Punjab virtually under Central rule by putting his stamp of approval on Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s decision to open offices of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in all states of the country.

Addressing a Press conference on Friday, senior SAD leaders Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra, Maheshinder Singh Grewal and Dr Daljit Singh Cheema said it was shocking that Mann, who was the only CM of the Opposition parties attending the Chintan Shivir in Faridabad, agreed to the proposal which would allow the NIA to have overriding powers over the state police in Punjab.

They alleged Mann was colluding with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to destroy the federal structure of the country. Punjabis had not given the chief minister the mandate to sell off the rights of the state which were guaranteed by the Constitution, the SAD leader said. “The chief minister seems to have arrived at an understanding with the BJP and that is why he agreed to a decision which will allow the central government to use NIA against its political opponents in the same manner in which it has misused the ED,” Prof Chandumajra said.

The SAD also highlighted how the chief minister had earlier refused to protest against extension of the jurisdiction of the Border Security Force (BSF) in Punjab as well as curtailing Punjab’s rights in the management of the Bhakra Beas Management Board. Prof Chandumajra demanded the chief minister take back his approval to allow opening of offices of the NIA in Punjab.

Dr Cheema said states should be financed to enable them to upgrade the law enforcement agencies instead of introducing multiple agencies into the states. Grewal said the Union government should not make fun of the Constitution and respect the religious, language and regional aspirations of people of all states. He said Central inquiries had delayed probes in the past. “Even in the case of investigation into the Sidhu Moosewala killing we are witnessing the Delhi Police, NIA and Punjab Police holding separate probes which is not conducive to securing effective results,” he added.