Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar on Sunday accused the previous Akali-BJP government of the bid to "protect" Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in a 2007 blasphemy case to get votes, a charge rejected by the SAD as a "malicious lie".
The Sirsa dera chief was booked in 2007 after he allegedly wore a dress similar to Sikh Guru Gobind Singh during a congregation at Salabatpura in Bathinda.
Jakhar in a statement here on Sunday alleged that the previous SAD-BJP government had taken a "U-turn" in the court in the 2007 blasphemy case to "protect" the dera chief.
Jakhar alleged that the previous government, in which current Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Badal was the home minister, had filed an affidavit in a court just a few days before the 2012 assembly polls, stating the "dera chief neither came to Salabatpura nor had participated in any function".
"Under the pressure of the dera chief, the Akali government, which claimed itself to be totally Panthic, took a U-turn in the court and filed a fresh affidavit merely three days before the assembly polls that the dera chief neither came to Salabatpura in May 2007 nor he had participated in any function," alleged Jakhar.
"For the sake of votes, Sukhbir Badal has always supported the dera chief, thereby, backstabbing the Panth," Jakhar further alleged.
The Punjab Congress chief dared Badal to clear the air regarding his alleged "bonding" with Ram Rahim.
Had the previous Akali government acted sternly against him in the 2007 case, then neither the incidents like sacrilege would have taken place nor the firing incident at Behbal Kalan, said Jakhar.
Meanwhile, SAD leader Daljit Singh Cheema described Jakhar's accusations against Sukhbir Badal as "malicious lies" and asked him to explain why his government had not taken action against any official since the last three and a half years for laxity in prosecuting the dera chief.
Cheema said the PCC president was in such a hurry to mouth "malicious lies" against the SAD that he forgot to mention that it was the SAD- BJP government which had sanctioned the prosecution of the the dera head in the Salabatpura case for hurting sentiments of the Sikh community.
Not only was a case registered against the dera head for hurting religious sentiments but also for provocation with intent to riot, said Cheema.
"The case went up to the sessions court and is still pending in the Punjab and Haryana High Court," said Cheema in a statement here.
"If the Congress government feels the investigation officer or other officials have not represented the state properly, it should have taken action against them. Why were they sleeping till now? Why no inquiry has been ordered into the matter till now," he asked.