People’s Party of Punjab (PPP) chief Manpreet Singh Badal has demanded that revenue minister Bikram Singh Majithia be removed from his post so as to ensure a fair inquiry after the latter’s name resurfaced during interrogation of persons arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the international drug racket.
Manpreet was reacting to the news report, ‘ED ready with evidence to summon Majithia, but dragging its feet’ (HT, November 24) during an interaction with mediapersons here on Monday.
Manpreet said Majithia had first been named by Jagdish Singh Bhola, a former policeman-turned-druglord, after his arrest. The PPP chief said the confessions made by the accused were admissible as per law as evidence in the court in this case.
He added that the ED was reluctant to summon Majithia due to political reasons as the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) was in alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which was in power at the Centre. Manpreet said if there was no case against Majithia, the revenue minister would get the clean chit.
The PPP chief stated that during the UPA regime, when Majithia’s name had first surfaced, the Punjab government had rejected the demand for a CBI inquiry, arguing that the functioning of the premier investigating agency was being influenced by then ruling Congress. Now, the SAD is part of the BJP-led NDA government and thus, the investigation cannot be influenced, he said.
Meanwhile, Manpreet predicted mid-term assembly elections in Punjab in July or August next year. He said going by the strained relations between the SAD and the BJP, it was unlikely that the alliance would last long, adding that the BJP would sever its ties with the SAD after the upcoming Delhi assembly elections.
He said the PPP would contest the next assembly elections in Punjab alone. However, the party would contest the ensuing local body elections jointly with the Congress, he added. Manpreet gave a call to all opposition parties to contest the local body elections jointly to defeat the SAD-BJP alliance.
Earlier, he addressed a meeting of party office-bearers of Rupnagar district.