Manpreet favours CBI probe into drug racket

Joining the chorus calling for a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) inquiry against high-profile accused in the drug racket, Sanjha Morcha chairman Manpreet Singh Badal has said: "If the ruling Badal family has nothing to hide, it has nothing to fear."

The alleged kingpin, dismissed police officer Jagdish Bhola, has named revenue minister Bikram Singh Majithia as the one running the network. Revealing a soft corner for Punjab Congress president Pratap Singh Bajwa, Manpreet criticised Bajwa's predecessor, Captain Amarinder Singh, for rejecting the CBI-inquiry demand.

"We demand a CBI inquiry. Let the truth come out," said Manpreet, addressing a public gathering at Maghi Mela here, adding: "It's an internal matter of the Congress if Captain has accused Bajwa of being involved in the drug racket."

PPP to launch own newspaper

The leaders said he would try to break the "monopoly hold" of the ruling family on many businesses such as mining and media in the state.

Calling for 50% reduction in bus fares, besides the abolition of the taxes on property; marriage palaces, and sand mining; and the surcharge on electricity, gas, telephone, and water, Manpreet said if Sanjha Morcha came to power, it would make sand free of cost.

"The state exchequer earns only about Rs 40 crore a year from the tax on sand mining, and the ruling-party leaders pocket the remaining hundreds of crores of rupees," said the PPP leader.

"The People's Party of Punjab (PPP) will launch its own newspaper to reach public, as the ruling party controls most of the media in the state and they give us little coverage," said Manpreet.

On why AAP won and PPP lost

Manpreet denied he was in talks with the either Congress or the Aam Aadmi Party for alliance in the coming Lok Sabha elections.

Asked why one new party (PPP) had failed in Punjab, while another (AAP) had succeeded in Delhi, he said: "There is a difference of voter literacy rate, and in Delhi, tehsildars and station house officers have not much influence."

Kejriwal mould?

Manpreet remained tightlipped about his possible candidature for the Bathinda Lok Sabha seat but his deputy, Bhagwant Mann, hinted that the leader might take on Harsimrat Kaur, parliamentarian daughter-in-law of the chief minister, indeed.

"A day before the result, former Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit asked the media 'Who is Kejriwal' and soon had her answer. Harsimrat who now asks 'Who is Manpreet' will also know after the elections," said Mann.


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