A day after Shriomani Akali Dal (SAD) secretary general Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa accused Punjab Congress president Partap Singh Bajwa of having drug links, the targeted party charged him with patronising his close relative Kanwarjit Singh Pehalwan, who has a history of dealings with the Mumbai underworld.
"Pehalwan (father-in-law of MP's son, Parminder Singh Dhindsa) has links with Maninder Singh Bittu Aulakh, a Youth Akali Dal (YAD) leader under arrest in the Jagdish Bhola drug racket," mentions a joint statement that Punjab Congress leaders Surinder Pal Singh Sibia, Ramesh Singla and Paramjit Singh Randhawa issued here on Wednesday.
Pehalwan was also an absconder in a drug case, said the Congress leaders, without divulging any details. "Dhindsa has no right to point fingers at Bajwa when he himself supported Pehalwan and protected him from police," they said, adding: "Pehalwan, a notorious criminal, had franchise rights of (the underworld business) of Dawood Ibrahim in India. He also facilitated Mumbai blasts and received an illegal shipment sent by Pakistan."
The name of Pehalwan, said the leaders, also figured on a "dus numbri" (bad characters') list displayed on a notice board at Sarai Amanat Khan police station in Tarn Taran district. In police records, he is shown as absent, though it is mandatory for him to report in the police station every day. Being a close relative of Dhindsa, he roams free without the fear of police, the Congressmen have stated.
Demanding investigation into the activities of the Dhindsa family and the father-in-law of Parminder Dhindsa, they said Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, a member of the Rajya Sabha, was "an armchair politician" whom the ruling Badal family used time and again for its ulterior motives. "Dhindsa should first explain the past activities of his son's father-in-law before becoming a mouthpiece of the Badal family to defame the Punjab Congress president," said Sibia.
The Congress leaders called again to put the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on the drug-racket case, pointing out Bhola's assertions of the involvement of cabinet minister Bikram Singh Majithia, brother-in-law of deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal.