Ex-Akali min­is­ter Lan­gah booked for rap­ing daugh­ter’s class­mate

SAD ex­min­is­ter ques­tions pace of po­lice ac­tion ‘at be­hest of ri­vals’

Hindustan Times (Jalandhar) - - NEWS - Ravin­der Va­sudeva and Ka­maljit Singh Ka­mal let­ter­schd@hin­dus­tan­times.com

CHANDIGARH/GUR­DASPUR: In an em­bar­rass­ment to the SAD-BJP com­bine in Pun­jab, po­lice have booked se­nior Akali leader Sucha Singh Lan­gah on charges of rap­ing a woman con­sta­ble.

The de­vel­op­ment has lent am­mu­ni­tion to the rul­ing Congress and the AAP to tar­get the SAD-BJP in the run up to the Gur­daspur Lok Sabha by­poll, to be held on Oc­to­ber 11.

Lan­gah, who served as the agri­cul­ture min­is­ter in the SADBJP gov­ern­ment from 2007 to 2012, is also ac­cused of de­fraud­ing her.

The 39-year-old com­plainant claimed in the first in­for­ma­tion re­port (FIR) that she used to study in the same class as Lan­gah’s daugh­ter, Sarab­jit Kaur, at the Bebe Nanki Col­lege in Gur­daspur.

She has ac­cused the 61-yearold politi­cian of forc­ing her to have sex­ual re­la­tions with him for over eight years un­der threat of death.

The woman, while lodg­ing the com­plaint, also claimed to have shot a 20-minute video that shows Lan­gah sex­u­ally ex­ploit­ing her. The clip was handed to the po­lice in a pen drive, Gur­daspur se­nior su­per­in­ten­dent of po­lice Har­cha­ran Singh Bhullar said, adding that the probe has been handed over to deputy su­per­in­ten­dent of po­lice AD Singh.

A case un­der Sec­tions 376 (rape), a non-bail­able of­fence, 384 (ex­tor­tion) 420 (fraud) and 506 (crim­i­nal in­tim­i­da­tion) of the In­dian Pe­nal Code (IPC) has been reg­is­tered against Lan­gah at the Gur­daspur city po­lice sta­tion. Po­lice have also launched a hunt to ar­rest the Akali leader.

Ac­cord­ing to the FIR, the com­plainant’s night­mare be­gan in 2009 when she and her rel­a­tives met Lan­gah at the Kisan Bhawan in Chandigarh to seek a job on com­pas­sion­ate grounds. Her hus­band, a po­lice con­sta­ble, had passed away – leav­ing no­body to pro­vide for the fam­ily.

“The min­is­ter asked me to meet him alone af­ter two days. I did as told be­cause get­ting a job was very im­por­tant to me. I had two chil­dren to tend to,” the com­plainant said in the FIR.

The woman vividly re­called the first time Lan­gah al­legedly forced him­self on her. “I begged the min­is­ter to spare me. I even tried re­mind­ing him that I was his daugh­ter’s class­mate, and – there­fore – like a daugh­ter to him. But he wouldn’t lis­ten. He told me that hav­ing sex­ual re­la­tions with him was the only way I could get a gov­ern­ment job,” she al­leged.

At­tempts to re­sist his ad­vances were quelled with death threats. “When­ever I tried putting up a fight, the min­is­ter would tell me that he knows gang­sters in Bi­har and Ut­tar Pradesh who would kill any­body he wants at a mo­ment’s no­tice. I dared not speak against him be­cause he was a very pow­er­ful man,” the woman said in her state­ment.

Lan­gah has been a se­nior mem­ber of the Shi­ro­mani Gur­d­wara Par­band­hak Com­mit­tee (SGPC) for over two decades now. Though the politi­cian’s at­tempts to win from Dera Baba Nanak as­sem­bly seat in 2012 and 2017 were un­suc­cess­ful, he is still con­sid­ered the back­bone of SAD in the Ma­jha re­gion.

Lan­gah would al­legedly fix meet­ings with the vic­tim in Chandigarh with the help of a po­lice of­fi­cial in the state sec­re­tariat. She fi­nally de­cided to shoot the video be­cause she did not think any­body would take her word if she filed a reg­u­lar com­plaint.

The com­plainant also ac­cused Lan­gah of cheat­ing her mon­e­tar­ily. “Lan­gah sold a one-acre plot that be­longed to me in So­hal vil­lage on the pre­text of buy­ing prop­erty for me in Chandigarh. Though he made ₹30 lakh from that trans­ac­tion, I got a pal­try ₹4.5 lakh. When I protested, he got a lo­cal bank to is­sue a loan of ₹8 lakh in my name. How­ever, even from that, I got just ₹1 lakh,” the FIR read.

GUR­DASPUR : Even as the Gur­daspur po­lice launched a man­hunt to nab former Akali min­is­ter Sucha Singh Lan­gah booked in a rape case on Fri­day, amidst re­ports that he had gone un­der­ground, a late night state­ment from the vet­eran leader — is­sued through the Shi­ro­mani Akali Dal (SAD) — said that he will sur­ren­der in a lo­cal court on Satur­day.

The state­ment added that the ‘pre­med­i­tated case’ was a clas­sic ex­am­ple of po­lit­i­cal vendetta and a witch hunt. It went on to add that he (Lan­gah) was re­sign­ing from all posts with the SAD and was quit­ting the mem­ber­ship of Shi­ro­mani Gur­d­wara Par­band­hak Com­mit­tee (SGPC) as well.

On Fri­day morn­ing, min­utes af­ter get­ting word of the rape case while he has ad­dress­ing an elec­tion rally in sup­port of BJP-SAD can­di­date Swaran Salaria at Dera Baba Nanak, Lan­gah had sum­moned a pri­vate car and left the venue. No­tice­ably, he did not take any of his gov­ern­ment-pro­vided guards with him.

“This is vendetta, per­pet­u­ated at the most po­lit­i­cal op­por­tune mo­ment when the by­elec­tion of the Gur­daspur Par­lia­men­tary con­stituency is un­der way,” the state­ment went on to add.

He also claimed that the case was a witch-hunt launched since he met the state DGP in Au­gust and com­plained against seven SHOs in the state.

He claimed that an­other case was reg­is­tered against the en­tire SAD lead­er­ship of Gur­daspur dis­trict on Au­gust 20.

“The rape com­plaint it­self was made to the SSP yes­ter­day. An in­quiry was marked and con­ducted within hours and a re­port also sub­mit­ted. Le­gal opin­ion was also sought and given within a mat­ter of min­utes and in the wee hours of Fri­day, a false FIR was reg­is­tered,” the state­ment added.

BOOKED ON AU­GUST 20 FOR RI­OT­ING TOO

Even as he now faces charges of rape him­self, on Au­gust 20 this year, Lan­gah, was booked for tres­pass and ri­ot­ing af­ter he al­legedly en­tered into an ar­gu­ment with mem­bers of Ch­hota Ghal­lughara Gur­d­wara, Kah­nuwan Ch­hamb man­age­ment com­mit­tee and tried to forcibly en­ter their premises. He has then raked up the is­sue of a se­nior func­tionary of the man­age­ment al­legedly be­ing seen with a woman in­side the gur­d­wara on the night of Au­gust 11. In this case, former Pun­jab min­is­ter Sewa Singh Sekhwan and then AAP leader Kan­wal­preet Singh Kaki are also among ac­cused.

A case was reg­is­tered for tres­pass, crim­i­nal in­tim­i­da­tion and ri­ot­ing at Bhaini Mian Khan po­lice sta­tion in Gur­daspur. Lan­gah has also been con­victed in a case of pos­sess­ing more wealth than his known sources of in­come and is out on bail. He has filed an ap­peal against the de­ci­sion in the higher court.

AF­TER GET­TING WORD OF CASE AT AN ELEC­TION RALLY IN SUP­PORT OF SALARIA AT DERA BABA NANAK, LAN­GAH GOT INTO A PRI­VATE CAR AND LEFT WITH­OUT GUARDS

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