Will probe Amarinder Singh's friend's ISI connection: Punjab Home Minister
Punjab Home Minister Sukhjinder Randhawa on Friday called for a probe into former state CM Amarinder Singh's journalist friend Aroosa Alam over her alleged links with Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). Alam is a Pakistani defense journalist whose photos with officers in the Pakistani Army have been widely circulating online. Randhawa said he has asked the Punjab Police chief to investigate Alam.
- Randhawa's call for a probe into Alam's links to the ISI comes after Singh's bitter exit as the Punjab CM last month.
- After quitting Punjab's ruling Congress, Singh is looking to form his own party. He has spoken about a possible alliance with the BJP.
- Randhawa's comment is the sharpest attack on Singh so far as he linked terror threats in Punjab to Alam.
Randhawa told NDTV that the Punjab Police will probe Alam's relationship with the ISI. He said, "Captain Amarinder Singh kept raising the issue of drones coming over from Pakistan for the last four-and-a-half years. So Captain (sahab) first raised this issue and later got BSF (Border Security Force) deployed in Punjab. So it seems a big plot which needs to be probed."
Singh reacted saying that Alam has been coming to India for 16 years with government clearance. He asked if the former Congress-led central government and the current BJP government "connived with ISI." He said he is worried about a "baseless investigation" when the "terror threat is high and festivals are around the corner." "What happened to your tall promises on Bargari and drugs cases?"
Singh first met Alam in 2004 during his Pakistan visit. The two have since been friends. Reportedly, she regularly visits Singh's home and had also attended his oath-taking ceremony as CM. Alam's name was dragged into a similar controversy in 2018 after Singh targeted his then deputy Navjot Singh Sidhu for attending Pakistan PM Imran Khan's oath-taking and hugging the Pakistani Army chief.
At the time, writer Shobhaa De had questioned Singh's position over his comments against Sidhu when he has Alam as his "live-in partner." She described their "romance" as "Punjab's worst-kept secret" in a column published in The Print.
Singh resigned as Punjab's CM last month after a months-long power tussle between him and Sidhu. At the time, Singh had said he felt "humiliated" by the Congress leadership. He is now looking to float a new party. This week, Singh said he would be open to ally with former rival BJP if the farmers' protest issue is resolved.
Congress' Punjab in-charge Harish Rawat said Singh's new party would not harm their prospects in the 2022 state elections. Rawat said it seemed that Singh had "killed the secular Amarinder within him." Singh responded by saying that Congress has no business talking about secularism after welcoming BJP leaders into the party and allying with the right-wing nationalist Shiv Sena in Maharashtra.