Haryana upset over Punjab minister’s ‘threat’ to official

July 21st, 2011 - 10:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Chandigarh, July 21 (IANS) The Haryana government Thursday took strong exception to the alleged threat by Punjab Irrigation Minister Janmeja Singh Sekhon to officers of the Haryana irrigation department at the site of the controversial toe wall along the Hansi Butana canal.

Calling it as a clear case of “criminal intimidation”, Haryana Finance and Irrigation Minister H.S. Chathha said that Sekhon’s action was uncalled for.

Sekhon, along with other political leaders and officials from Punjab, had visited the toe wall site of the canal, which has become a political flash-point between both states Wednesday.

Chathha Thursday said that Sekhon had threatened Haryana superintending engineer and project in-charge Arun Malik by saying: “You will have to pay a price for this transgression which you are trying to justify when the INLD (Indian national Lok Dal) comes to power. Let the Chautalas come. You will face a criminal case.”

Chattha said that being a criminal lawyer, he understood that it was a case of criminal intimidation but the state government did not want to precipitate the matter so it was not pursuing the issue further.

“I urge Mr Sekhon not to repeat this act, otherwise we will be compelled to register a criminal case,” he added.

He said that the conduct of the Punjab minister to intimidate a Haryana officer in the name of Om Parkash Chautala, a former chief minister and now leader of opposition, “was highly condemnable and objectionable”.

Chathha urged Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal “to direct his irresponsible ministers not to conduct in such immature manner. It is regrettable that the custodians of law are breaking the laws and using threatening tones”.

Chattha said that the officers have not constructed the wall, but they have only followed the orders of the government. He described the statements of Punjab leaders as political posturing aimed at influencing people in an election year in Punjab.

“Some 15 villages of Haryana are on the other side of the toe wall, how can we drown them,” he asked.

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