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Punjab Congress leaders not allowed to meet arrested MLA

IANS | September 29, 2023 04:16 PM

CHANDIGARH: A day after the arrest of Congress leader Sukhpal Khaira in a 2015 drug smuggling case in Punjab, Congress leaders comprising state party chief Amarinder Singh Raja Warring and Leader of Opposition Partap Singh Bajwa were stopped on Friday from meeting the arrested leader in police custody.

The Congress has accused the AAP government of doing “vendetta politics”.

“We went to meet our MLA Sukhpal Khaira in Fazilka today with senior leadership of the Punjab Congress, ” Bajwa told the media.

“The police stopped us from meeting him. We will fight this vendetta of the AAP party legally and on the streets. We won’t be cowed down by such pressure tactics, ” he added.

Sensing a law and order problem with the gathering of a large number of the Congress workers, the local administration has deployed a heavy security force.

A Jalalabad court on Thursday granted a two-day police remand to Khaira and he has been kept at the CIA staff office in Fazilka. The police were asking for a seven-day remand.

Soon after his arrest, a delegation of the Congress comprising Warring and Bajwa called upon Governor Banwarilal Purohit and apprised him about the vindictive action of the AAP government against their legislator Khaira, an AAP rebel, and sought his intervention.

Responding to the arrest of the Congress leader, AAP MP Sushil Gupta said, "Khaira joined the Congress for political protection so that he doesn't get arrested."

"The law will take its own course. It is well-known that Sukhpal Khaira ji indulged in the drug business. He kept getting protection from earlier governments. Now, a proper investigation will be conducted, " AAP MP Sushil Gupta told the media.

Joining the issue, BJP leader Tarun Chugh said the AAP government in Punjab, which came to power in the name of change, is misusing power and doing vindictive politics.

However, AAP claimed that during its probe by the new Special Investigation Team (SIT) it had found enough evidence to prove that Khaira had been allegedly involved in drug smuggling.

AAP spokesperson Malvinder Singh Kang told the media that the government was working to eliminate the drug mafia from the state.

“The government has zero tolerance against the drug mafia. Anyone involved, no matter how influential they are, will not be spared, ” Kang said.

In March 2021, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had carried out searches at eight locations linked to Khaira in Chandigarh, Punjab and Delhi in connection with drugs money laundering and a fake passport racket case.

The legislator from Bholath, Khaira had resigned from the AAP citing the ‘dictatorial’ attitude of party chief Arvind Kejriwal.

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