Rape accused ex-minister now wants to surrender

Chandigarh, Oct 2 A local court here on Monday refused to accept the surrender of former Shiromani Akali Dal Minister Sucha Singh Langah, directing him to go to Punjab's Gurdaspur town where the rape and cheating case was registered against him. After remaining underground for three days, the rape accused ex-minister dramatically surrendered at the District and Sessions Court here on Monday, but duty magistrate Hirdejeet Singh rejected his bid and asked him to go and surrender in Gurdaspur. Curiously, the Punjab Police, which had been claiming that it was conducting raids across Punjab for the past three days, did not reach the court complex here to arrest Langah even though he remained there for a few hours. The former Minister was accompanied by his lawyer and some associates when he arrived at the court complex to surrender. Since the complex was closed due to Monday being a national holiday on account of Gandhi Jayanti, he appeared before the Duty Magistrate. Langah was booked on Friday at Gurdaspur on the complaint of a woman employee of the Punjab Police Vigilance Department. The victim, a widow, claimed that she had been sexually exploited and raped by Langah since 2009 under the threat of death. She also said that she was a classmate of Langah's daughter in college. Langah had remained underground since Friday and failed to surrender in Gurdaspur or Pathankot as promised and police had conducted raids at various places in Punjab in order to arrest him. The former Minister was booked under Sections 376 (rape), 384 (extortion), 420 (cheating) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code at the Gurdaspur City police station. Langah, who was a Akali Dal core committee member and President of its Gurdaspur district unit, on Friday announced his resignation from all party posts and from the membership of Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee as well. "I have full faith in the judiciary. Therefore, I am submitting to the process of law by surrendering in the court tomorrow (Saturday). I have firm belief that truth will come out and justice will be done to me," he had said. SAD President Sukhbir Singh Badal, who accepted the resignation immediately, had said Langah had done so (resigned) to "submit himself to the process of law". Langah termed the case "political vendetta" and "premeditated" just before the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha seat bypoll on October 11. The SAD and alliance partner Bharatiya Janata Party have defended Langah, saying that the case was motivated by Punjab's ruling Congress before the crucial bypoll. The Congress has rubbished the charges.

(IANS)