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ED raid on MLA Sukhpal Khaira echoes in Punjab Assembly

CHENNAI: Some Punjab MLAs on Tuesday raised in the Assembly the issue of raids conducted by the ED on legislator Sukhpal Singh Khaira and described the move as “political intimidation”.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) raided the premises of rebel AAP MLA from Punjab Sukhpal Singh Khaira, his family members in Delhi and some jailed convicts on Tuesday in a money-laundering case linked to the 2015 Fazilka narcotics trafficking case and a fake passport racket, officials said.

In the ongoing budget session of the Punjab Assembly here, rebel SAD MLA Parminder Singh Dhindsa took up the issue of the raid on Khaira and alleged that it was a case of “political intimidation” as he raised the issue of the death of farmer Navreet Singh during the Republic Day tractor parade.

Dhindsa accused the Centre of using ED as its “tool against those who speak against it”.

Supporting Dhindsa over this issue, Punjab minister Charanjit Singh Channi termed the ED action against Khaira as “wrong.” He sought a resolution to “condemn” the raid on a legislator, alleging the Centre was trying to “suppress” the voice of people who speak in support of farmers’ agitation.

Another MLA Kanwar Sandhu dubbed the raid as “unfortunate” and said it amounted to interference in the functioning of the House.

Reacting to the raids, Khaira, president of the Punjab Ekta Party founded by him in 2019, denied any wrongdoing as he briefly spoke to reporters, who had gathered outside his bungalow number 6 in Chandigarh’s sector 5.

The central agency searched a dozen locations — Khaira’s residence, nine places in Punjab and two in Delhi — including the house of his son-in-law, Inderveer Singh Johal.

The agency alleged that Khaira (56), the MLA from Bholath in Kapurthala district, is an “associate” of the drugs racket convicts and fake passport racketeers.

Khaira was elected to the state Assembly in 2017 on an Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) ticket, but he later quit the party and launched his own political outfit.

Source: Press Trust of India

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