Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief Partap Singh Bajwa has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take the first step towards fulfilling his promise of making Punjab a drug-free state by ordering a CBI inquiry into the drug racket and the role of some of the senior Akali leaders in promoting smuggling and sale of psychotropic drugs in the state.
Interacting with reporters here on Wednesday, Bajwa said he had made an appeal to the PM, as the enforcement directorate (ED) under finance minister Arun Jaitley was “dragging its feet on summoning the powerful Punjab revenue minister, Bikram Singh Majithia, whose name was surfaced in the infamous Patiala synthetic drug scandal” involving a former Punjab police official, Jagdish Bhola.
“During the Lok Sabha poll campaign in Punjab you (Modi) had promised to wage a battle against the drug menace. However, far from moving even an inch forward, your finance minister seems to be reluctant to summon Majithia before the ED,” he claimed.
The PPCC chief sought a CBI inquiry into the smuggling and sale of drugs in Punjab and felt that the PM himself should pass the order as others in his government were reluctant to do so.
“If a CBI inquiry is not possible, then an inquiry by a sitting judge of the Supreme Court can be ordered,” he added.
Seeking answers from Jaitley, Bajwa reminded him that he himself had admitted that drug addiction problem in Punjab was very serious and required to be tackled immediately. Jaitley and his family members realised the “bitter truth” during the poll campaign in the Amritsar parliamentary constituency, he added.
Bajwa sought to know from Jaitley the reasons that were holding back the ED from summoning Majithia.
“Has Jaitley gone soft on the case after union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal met him thrice in the past few days or has he been influenced by Majithia, who too met him,” asked Bajwa, while claiming that the finance minister was deliberately holding back the ED due to the assembly polls in Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir.
The Congress leader also called upon former Amritsar MP Navjot Singh Sidhu to pressurise on his party leadership for allowing the ED to summon Majithia. He also asked the state unit of the BJP to clear its stand on the drug issue.
Criticises dismantling of FCI
Bajwa was critical of the reported move of the NDA government to dismantle the Food Corporation of India (FCI).
In this context he pointed towards the committee appointed by the central government under the chairmanship of former union minister and senior BJP leader Shanta Kumar.
“By doing away with the FCI, the government will put the farmers at the mercy of the private traders. We all know that the BJP has always been sympathetic to the trading community and against the farmers,” he added.
He also sought the release of the outstanding amount of Rs 3,500 crore from the central government for the payment to farmers and commission agents of Punjab for the purchase of paddy crop.