Claiming that Punjab had turned into a gangland, Congress Legislature Party leader Charanjit Singh Channi today demanded a Punjab and Haryana High Court-monitored probe into the matter.Addressing the gathering at the martyrdom day function of soldier-cum-preacher Baba Bir Singh at Thatan Kalan village near Sultanpur Lodhi, Channi suspected that these gangs were being used by the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal in the run-up to the Assembly elections.Channi said Director General of Police Suresh Arora had himself admitted that there were 55 gangs in the state with 423 members, of whom more than 100 were operating from prisons. He alleged that these gangs had proliferated under political patronage as pictures of several gangsters with senior Akali leaders had appeared in the media.

“Prisons are safe havens for these anti-social elements,” he added.Later, Channi, along with fellow Congress leaders Manpreet Singh Badal, Hans Raj Hans, and Navtej Cheema, met environmentalist Baba Balbir Singh Seechewal at Sultanpur Lodhi. They assured him that environment-related issues would be included in the party manifesto.Jakhar tells Sampla to clarify on delay in SC scholarshipFormer CLP leader Sunil Jakhar said today that Punjab’s SC students were awaiting Rs 772.76 crore as the post-matric scholarship since the 2014-15 session, adding that the delay was caused by the submission of incorrect utilisation certificates by the state government to the CentreHe handed out copies of a letter written by TVA Ram, Director, Department of Social Justice and Empowerment of the Union Government, to the Secretary, Department of Welfare, Punjab, pointing out the lapse.

Jakhar said state BJP president and Dalit leader Vijay Sampla, the Union Minister of State in the department, should clear the air on the issue.Jakhar said the SC/BC Welfare Minister, replying to his query in the Assembly, had claimed that all funds for 2014-15 had been cleared, but a document showed that Rs 245.08 crore for the session was yet to be disbursed.

Besides, Rs 527.68 crore had not been doled out for 2015-16, even as the 2016-17 session had started, he added.Congress confronts Kejriwal on Gandhi Attacking Punjab’s AAP leadership over its leader Gurpreet Ghuggi’s statement against Mahatma Gandhi, Congress spokesperson Nimisha Mehta said today that AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal should clarify his party’s stand on the issue and apologise publicly, failing which it would face the ire of the public for spreading venomous ideas. She said Kejriwal must also clarify whether his party would celebrate Gandhi Jayanti in future.