Chandigarh, March 31: The Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) on Saturday directed the police to take appropriate action in the cases in which prominent Akali leaders and several others MLAs were booked for blocking the national highways.

On December 8, 2017, protesting against an alleged attack by Congress leaders, the SAD had blocked traffic across the state. Besides various other leaders, SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal and former minister Bikram Singh Majithia were booked under Sections 431 (damage to roads and bridges), 341 (wrongful restraint) and 283 (causing danger or obstruction in public way) of the IPC and Section 8-B of the National Highways Act, 1956, at the Makhu police station in Ferozepur for blocking the Harike bridge. Similar FIRs were registered against various other prominent Akali leaders in other districts.

The police was bound to arrest them as the sections under which these leaders were booked, only court was empowered to take decision on their bail application. None of them have applied for bail from the court concerned and the police also failed to arrest them.

Following that a group of RTI activists had submitted a complaint to the Election Commission.

Following that the Chief Electoral Officer has written a letter to ADGP RN Dhoke, who is nodal officer for elections, that appropriate action should be taken on the complaint.
Earlier, SBS Nagar-based social activist Parvinder Singh Kittna had sought information under the RTI Act regarding the action taken by the district police authorities concerned. The police commonly replied that they were making “efforts to arrest the accused” or “still the investigation was on”. Reply to the query, SSP Tarn Taran, stated that “the raids are on to arrest the accused”. The accused in the FIR were former MLAs Virsa Singh Valthoa, Harmeet Singh Sandhu and several other Akali leaders.

Similarly, the police in Pathankot, where MLA Lakhbir Singh Lodhinangal and former MLA from Sri Hargobindpur Des Raj Dhugga were booked, replied, “all the efforts are being made to arrest the accused, but none could be arrested.”