Moga (Punjab) | A teenage girl died while her mother sustained serious injuries after they were allegedly molested and thrown off a moving bus near here. The conductor and cleaner of the bus, reportedly belonging to a company owned by Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s family, were today arrested by the police in connection with the horrific incident which occurred last evening close to Gill village, ten km from here on Moga-Kotkapura road.
Moga’s SP (Detective) H S Pannu told PTI that the injured woman in her statement said that she and her 16-year-old daughter were allegedly molested and harassed by the conductor, cleaner and one more unidentified person on the bus. Later on, they were pushed and thrown outside the moving bus by the accused, he said. Police had earlier said that the two had allegedly jumped off the bus to escape the molesters.
Badals today under attack from opposition over the incident with Congress demanding a judicial inquiry into the incident claiming that local authorities will never be able to act fairly due to the political links of the firm. Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal said the incident was very unfortunate and promised swift action against the guilty even as he insisted he never took interest in the company’s affairs and had never visited its office.
Raising the issue in Lok Sabha, the Aam Aadmi Party and Congress members stormed the Well, leading to brief adjournment. Pannu said the bus has been impounded and a case has been registered under Sections 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 34 (common intention) of the IPC.
The bus conductor Sukhwinder and cleaner Gurdeep have been arrested. We are trying to nab the third accused in the case, Moga SSP Jatinder Singh Khaira said. Police claimed the woman had not levelled any charge against the bus driver.
The bus driver stopped the vehicle on one side of the road when he came to know what had happened. Initially, he feared that he may be thrashed by the public, but later on he cooperated with the investigations and we recorded his version. He is not on our list of accused, Pannu said following allegations that the driver too had colluded with the accused.
The girl’s 38-year-old mother was rushed to Moga Civil hospital here. Pannu said both mother and daughter were travelling in the near empty bus from Moga to Bhagapurana. He said the helper of the bus started molesting the mother and continued to ignore her repeated pleas to let her go. Joined by other accused, the three allegedly did not spare her daughter and molested her as well.
The womans 10-year-old son was also accompanying them at the time of the incident. However, he continued to remain seated inside the bus and was later handed over to the family by the police. The woman and her daughter were rushed to the hospital by passers-by.
Punjab Congress President Pratap Singh Bajwa, who went to Moga to meet the injured woman, said the Punjab and Haryana High Court should take suo motu cognisance of the incident. The district administration and the police will never act against this transport company. My request to the Chief Justice is that in the interest of justice, on humanitarian grounds, you please take up these matter suo motu and order a time-bound judicial inquiry, he said.
AAP MP Bhagwant Mann demanded that the Badals come clean on the issue and said Punjab has become the safest place for criminals. Chief Minister Badal said the other accused would be arrested soon.
It is very unfortunate and a sad incident. I condemn it The police have arrested two accused and others will be nabbed soon, he told reporters in Chandigarh. I agree it is a grave crime. But what can I do more when some else has commmitted a crime. And two arrests have already been made and more are in process
I have been pained to hear this. Entire humanity gets hurt, he said. On reports that the bus belonged to the Orbit company, owned by the ruling Badal family, the Chief Minister replied, I never took interest (in the Orbit company affairs). I don’t know anything about the transport company and have never been to its office.
Law will take it course. A case of murder has been registered and other sections have been added on the statement made by the injured woman, the 87-year-old five-time Chief Minister said. While Badal is heading the BJP-SAD government in Punjab, his son Sukhbir is the Deputy Chief Minister.
Sukhbir’s wife Harsimrat is the Food Processing Industries minister in Modi Government. Union Minister Harsimrat condemned the incident, saying it cannot be tolerated. She said that police had taken swift action and the state will ensure that the guilty get stringent punishment.
Subscribe to our email newsletter.