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Elections 2022

Facing money-laundering case, Khaira is Cong candidate in Punjab

VISHAL GULATI | January 16, 2022 03:45 AM

CHANDIGARH: Facing allegations in connection with drugs money laundering and fake passport racket case, Sukhpal Singh Khaira is the Congress candidate from Bholath in the February 14 assembly polls in Punjab.

Firebrand Khaira, whose name got cleared by the party high command in the first list comprising 86 candidates, had joined the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in December 2015 after resigning from the Congress and was elected from the Bholath assembly seat in Kapurthala in 2017.

Khaira, who rose to fame by defeating Akali Dal leader Bibi Jagir Kaur, the first woman to be elected SGPC president, from Bholath in the 2007 assembly elections, had resigned from AAP citing the "dictatorial" attitude of party chief Arvind Kejriwal.

The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has already named Bibi Jagir Kaur as the party candidate from Bholath.

Khaira joined the Congress along with two rebel AAP MLAs -- Jagdev Singh Kamalu and Pirmal Singh Khalsa -- just ahead of the assembly elections.

In November last year, the Enforcement Directorate arrested him in connection with a money-laundering case linked to drugs trafficking.

Earlier in March, the central probe agency had carried out searches at eight locations linked to Khaira in Chandigarh, and also at the property of his son-in-law in Delhi, in connection with the case.

According to sources, the central probe agency has unearthed a Rs 3.5 crore money trail in this connection.

However, Khaira, who started his political career as a panchayat member from Ramgarh village in Kapurthala in 1992, had denied any wrongdoing. His counsel had said the raid was conducted because Khaira had supported the ongoing farmers' agitation.

In 2019, Khaira floated a new regional political outfit, the Punjabi Ekta Party, and vowed to give a clean alternative to the people of the state.

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