Chandigarh (Punjab) [India], September 28 (ANI): Refuting the charges of Congress that the arrest of their party leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira in an eight-years-old drug case is vendetta politics, Punjab Aam Aadmi Party on Thursday said that the allegations do not hold any ground as the Chief Minister Bhagwant Singh Mann government in the border state has zero-tolerance policy against drug smugglers.
A senior spokesperson of Punjab AAP, Jagtar Singh Dyalpura, said that "sufficient admissible evidence" has been found against the Congress leader and that the case has links from Pakistan to England.
While speaking to ANI, Jagtar Singh said, "The case is about Sukhpal's involvement in a drug smuggling case. This is an old case. A case was registered in 2015. Sukhpal had connections with one of the accused. But, the then government led by SAD didn't book him. But as the case came closer to verdict, the judge noted that Sukhpal's name was emerging many times." Punjab Police arrested Khaira from his Chandigarh residence earlier this morning in connection with an old case registered in 2015 under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.
The AAP spokesperson told ANI that an SIT was formed in April this year, which found "sufficient admissible evidence" against Sukhpal Singh. "The case has links from Pakistan to England," he added.
Meanwhile, a Congress delegation called on Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit at Raj Bhavan in Chandigarh and briefed the latter about the arrest of party MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira in detail.
While speaking to reporters after meeting the Governor, state party unit chief Amarinder Raja Singh Warring said, "We briefed the Governor about everything that happened with Sukhpal Singh Khaira. How a false case was booked. How jungle raj has begun in Punjab. How vendetta politics is being done by involving him in an 8-year-old case...
"A set-up was made and without summoning him, a case was registered and police came directly to catch him," the Congress leader said.
On Congress' cry of vendetta politics, he said, "CM Bhagwant Mann led government is in Punjab and there is a zero-tolerance policy against drug smugglers." Moreover, in 2015, there were two cases originated with the unearthing of a cross-border drug smuggling network in Fazilka, Punjab, leading to the seizure of heroin, gold biscuits, weapons, cartridges, and Pakistani SIM cards and the second of a fake passport racket being run in Delhi.
As the trial went on, nine smugglers, including Gurdev Singh, Manjit Singh, Harbans Singh, and Subhash Chander, were sentenced in October 2017 in connection with the Fazilka case. As per the chargesheet, Khaira was closely associated with Gurdev Singh, the leader of the Fazilka drug smuggling racket, and is accused of having sheltered him.
The primary accusations against Khaira include supporting an international gang of smugglers, having sheltered him and receiving financial benefits from drug traffickers, and enjoying the proceeds of crime.
On February 16, 2023, a Supreme Court bench of Justices BR Gavai and Vikram Nath quashed the summoning order against Khaira in the drugs case.
The arrest of Sukhpal Khaira is expected to further dent the relations of AAP and the Congress which have come together to form the INDIA alliance at the centre. The state unit of the Congress has opposed any tie-up or seat-sharing arrangement with the AAP in Punjab. (ANI)