The SAD on Friday criticised Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s statement about opening NIA offices in all states, saying that doing so will allow the central agency to have overriding powers over the state police.
The Sukhbir Singh Badal-led opposition party also accused Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann of approving Mr Shah’s proposal.

Mr Shah had on Thursday during a ‘Chintan Shivir’ of home ministers of all states in Faridabad said that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) will set up at least one office in all states by 2024 to develop a strong anti-terror network.

Shiromani Akali Dal leaders Prem Singh Chandumajra, Maheshinder Singh Grewal, and Dr Daljit Singh Cheema in a joint statement said it was shocking that Mann, who was the only chief minister of the opposition attending ‘Chintan Shivir’, “agreed” to the proposal which would entail NIA having overriding powers over the state police in Punjab.

The Akali leaders said the Centre should increase the rights of the states instead of curtailing them.

“States should be financed to enable them to upgrade the law enforcement agencies instead of introducing multiple agencies into the states,” said Cheema.

He added, “the Central agencies should share intelligence inputs with the state agencies for seamless work instead of opening their own offices in the states.” Grewal said it was a settled law that CBI and NIA inquiries could only be initiated if recommended by the states.

He also gave examples of how central inquiries had “delayed” probes in the past and took up the issue of inquiry into the sacrilege case which remains inconclusive even after five years.

The Akali leaders attacked Mann alleging that he put his “stamp of approval” on home minister Amit Shah’s decision to open NIA offices across states in the country.

“It is shocking that Bhagwant Mann, who was the only chief minister of the opposition attending the Chintan Shivir in Faridabad, agreed to the proposal which would allow the NIA to have overriding powers over the State police in Punjab,” the Akalis said in the statement.

They alleged that Bhagwant Mann was colluding with the BJP “to destroy the federal structure of the country.” “Punjabis have not given the chief minister the mandate to sell off the rights of the State which were guaranteed by the constitution.

“The chief minister seems to have arrived at an understanding with the BJP and that is why he agreed to a decision which will allow the central government to use NIA against its political opponents in the same manner in which it has misused the ED,” they further alleged.

They also alleged that Mann had earlier refused to protest the extension of the jurisdiction of the Border Security Force (BSF) in Punjab, and failed to stop curtailing of Punjab’s rights in the management of the Bhakra Beas Management Board.

The Aam Aadmi Party in its turn accused the Akali Dal for making baseless claims.

The party’s Punjab unit chief spokesperson Malvinder Singh Kang said that Mann government is working dedicatedly to clean the mess and mafia from the state which were patronised by Akali Dal over their 10-year-long regime earlier.

Kang said that Mann is a true custodian of the Punjab and is striving hard to restore the lost glory of the state.

He alleged that SAD only nurtured their own families and indulged in corruption.