In a development that could further embarrass the beleaguered Punjab BJP which is under fire after the arrest of state unit chief Kamal Sharma's 'aides' in drug cases, party's Ferozepur minority cell chief (rural) and his three accomplices were arrested by Rajasthan Police with three kg opium and 190 kg poppy husk.
According to sources, Chittorgarh police on August 23 intercepted an SUV (Hyundai Creta) without any registration number at Nimana. "During the search, we recovered three kg opium and 190 kg poppy husk from the vehicle," Nimana station house officer Ram Niwas told HT over phone.
"All four occupants of the vehicle were arrested. They were identified as Jarnail Singh alias Judge Nimana, president of BJP minority cell (rural), Ferozepur, Sukhwinder Singh of Sur Singh Wala village, Sadhu Ram of Sodhi Nagar village and Pargat Singh of Bhattiya Wali Basti, all in Ferozepur," said the SHO.
The accused were sent to one-week police remand and would be re-produced in court on September 1, he said. "We are trying to find out their local links and gather more information on their network," said the officer.
The BJP leader's arrest prompted the Congress to launch a scathing attack on the saffron party and its state chief Sharma. "The fresh arrest clearly exposes BJP leaders' involvement in drug trade. While on "Mann Ki Baat" Prime Minister Narendra Modi expresses his deep concern over rise of drug trade in the country, especially Punjab, the state unit leaders are indulging into drug smuggling," said Congress MLA Parminder Singh Pinki.
"We can't expect justice as the BJP is in power in Rajasthan. The accused can manage to come out scot-free," alleged Pinki. "All drug cases involving BJP leaders must be handed over to the CBI under high court supervision," he said.
Sharma's detractor and former BJP MLA Sukhpal Singh Nannu said: "Several people with tainted image have surrounded Kamal Sharma. The party rank and file is facing embarrassment one after another."
Kamal Sharma could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.
Have expelled him
Ferozepur BJP minority cell chief Patras Soni on Sunday claimed that Jarinai Singh, who has been arrested by Rajasthan Police with opium, was expelled from the party three months ago. "The party had nothing to do with him. Anyone found indulging in illegal activities, would be dealt with sternly", said Patras.