Panel seeks report on charges of sexual misconduct by Punjab Minister
The National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC), on the orders of its Chairman Vijay Sampla, has issued a third notice to Punjab government officials regarding allegations of sexual misconduct by cabinet minister Lal Chand Kataruchak as the government had failed to submit action-taken report to the commission.
Chandigarh, June 6 (IANS) The National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC), on the orders of its Chairman Vijay Sampla, has issued a third notice to Punjab government officials regarding allegations of sexual misconduct by cabinet minister Lal Chand Kataruchak as the government had failed to submit action-taken report to the commission.
In repeated complaints to the NCSC, victim Keshav Kumar demanded justice and security, citing threats to his life.
In the third notice, NCSC directed the Chief Secretary, the Director General of Police and the DIG Border Range (Amritsar) to record statement of the victim by video-conference or in person in Delhi, provide him security, and submit the action-taken report by June 12.
Taking note of the complaint of Kumar, who had alleged sexual misconduct done by the minister, the NCSC had on May 5 issued first notice to the government officials and had asked them to submit the action-taken report and provide security to the victim.
Following the notice, the state government had on May 8 constituted a three-member special investigation team (SIT) to probe into the matter but no action-taken report was submitted before the NCSC.
Subsequently, the NCSC had on May 25 issued a second notice to the government. Citing threats of life to the victim, the NCSC had asked the officials and police to record the statement of the victim and submit the report by June 1.
Noting the government's delay in providing justice and the security to the victim, NCSC chairman Sampla said: "Despite repeated notices, no solid action has been taken by the state government. This shows the state government's lackadaisical and reluctant approach towards proving justice to the Scheduled Caste residents of the state.
"The state government is directed to submit an action-taken report by June 12. Also, the government is directed to immediately record statements of the victim by video-conference or in person in Delhi."
Earlier, Leader of Opposition Partap Singh Bajwa accused Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann for shielding the minister.
Bajwa also wrote a letter to Governor Banwarilal Purohit seeking his intervention in handing over the case to the CBI for fair action to maintain the probity expected from representatives of the people holding constitutional posts.
In the letter, the Opposition leader also urged the Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court to take suo motu cognisance and hand over the case to the CBI.
Bajwa said the report of the forensic probe that was asked by the Governor stated that the video of sexual misconduct was not morphed.
Now he had termed the crime committed by Kataruchak as "heinous" in nature.
"As anticipated, the AAP government is trying to pressurise the victim to withdraw his video statement and complaint to the NCSC. False cases are being registered against those, who have been coming in support of the victim. The AAP government is leaving no stone unturned to harass the victim and his family," Bajwa added.