Security of 122 former Punjab ministers, MLAs to be withdrawn

CHANDIGARH, Mar 12: The Punjab Police has ordered the withdrawal of security cover of 122 former ministers and MLAs, days before AAP leader Bhagwant Mann takes over as the chief minister.

Personnel deployed on specific orders of the courts will, however, not be withdrawn, the letter by the Additional Director General of Police (Security), dated March 11, to Police Commissioners, Senior Superintendents of Police and other senior police officers mentioned.

Prominent among those who stand to lose their security cover are former ministers Manpreet Singh Badal, Raj Kumar Verka, Bharat Bhushan Ashu, Brahm Mohindra, Sangat Singh Gilzian and former speaker K P Singh.

Badal, who lost from Bathinda Urban seat, is being protected by 19 security personnel while Ashu is guarded by 16 of them, according to the Punjab Police.

The names of Congress leaders who have won the recent assembly elections — Pargat Singh, Amarinder Singh Raja Warring, Rana Gurjeet Singh, Tript Rajender Singh Bajwa, Sukhbinder Sarkaria and Barindermeet Singh Pahra – also figure in the list.

The security cover of Warring, who was the former transport minister, comprised 21 personnel, the highest among the leaders that figure in the list. Navjot Kaur Sidhu, wife of Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu, will also lose her security cover. She is being protected by seven personnel.

Prominent among the BJP and Shiromani Akali Dal leaders, who will lose their security cover are Daljit Singh Cheema, Tota Singh, Sikandar Singh Maluka, Chunni Lal Bhaga, Manoranjan Kalia, Anil Joshi, Dinesh Babbu Adesh Partap Singh Kairon, and former MLAs Sharanjit Dhillon and Pawan Kumar Tinu.

The list also includes the names of former AAP MLAs Jagtar Singh Jagga, Kanwar Sandhu, Amarjit Singh Sandoa and HS Phoolka.

Lok Insaaf Party’s Bains brothers — Simarjeet Bains and Balwinder Bains — will also lose their security cover.

Further, the list includes the name of former chief of Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee and ex-MLA Gobind Singh Longowal.

Meanwhile, mentioning that the personnel deployed on specific court orders will remain, the letter stated, “In case any fresh, specific input regarding threat to a protectee is available with the local police, prior clearance may be obtained from ADGP/security, Punjab, before withdrawal of security.” (PTI)