A day after an audio interview, purported to be gangster Goldy Brar, appeared on social media, Opposition parties on Tuesday targeted Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann for making a "false statement" on detention of the gangster in the US. Mann had on December 2 in Ahmedabad said that Brar had been detained by police in California and that he would "definitely be brought to India."
The BJP and Shiromani Akali Dal mounted their attacks against Mann, a day after the audio interaction between a man claiming to be Brar and a journalist surfaced online.
Alleged online interview of Brar raises serious questions on Mann’s claim
He will be in the custody of the Punjab Police "very soon," Mann had then told reporters.
"It is confirmed news that being the head of the state, I am stating that a big gangster who was sitting in Canada, Goldy Brar, has been detained in America," he had said.
Belying the CM's statement, an interview, purportedly of the gangster, surfaced online Monday, in which he said that he was not under any detention, nor was he in the US.
According to his own claim, he gave the interview to a journalist on YouTube. The authenticity of the interview could not be verified.
Since its surfacing, neither the Punjab Police nor any official from the chief minister's office has reacted to the interview.
BJP leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa accused Mann of lying that Brar had been detained, while the gangster was still "free."
"CM Mann made a false statement on Goldy Brar in the wake of the state (Gujarat) assembly polls,” said Sirsa. "However, the truth has come out." "The truth is out today that the AAP is a party of liars. The CM should seek apology from the people of this country for lying and playing dirty politics,” he added.
Shiromani Akali Dal leader and former Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal too slammed CM Mann for "playing politics" over the issue.
Badal alleged that under the AAP regime, the gangsters had become a law unto themselves in Punjab and the state government was helpless before them.
She said gangsters were indulging in targeted killings and extortions, which has created a fear of psychosis among the people of the state.
"Instead of correcting this issue, Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann was playing politics by falsely asserting on the eve of the Gujarat elections that dreaded gangster Goldy Brar had been detained in the United States," she said.
Goldy Brar has now "refuted" this claim with the interview, she added.
SAD spokesman Arshdeep Singh Kaler on Monday had asked CM Mann to make a statement on the matter since his claims on Brar’s detention had been disproved with the "interview." Shubhdeep Singh Sidhu, popularly known as Sidhu Moosewala, was shot dead in Punjab's Mansa district on May 29. Brar is alleged to have orchestrated the killing from Canada, and is a key accused in the case.
(With PTI input)