Ex-Akali minister Langah booked for raping daughter’s classmate
SAD exminister questions pace of police action ‘at behest of rivals’
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