Damanveer Singh, son of Kartarpur’s Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) legislator and former cabinet minister Sarwan Singh Phillaur, has asked Phillaur Akali MLA Avinash Chander to resign as chief parliamentary secretary (CPS) on moral grounds until the Enforcement Directorate (ED) investigation into the Jagdish Bhola drug racket is complete.
Damanveer, who is the SAD’s senior vice-president in Doaba region, has said that Chander’s repeated summoning before the ED had earned the party a bad name. “He should step down from his post until he emerges as clean. My father also did the same when fingers were pointed at us on the same issue,” he suggested in a statement issued here on Sunday.
Damanveer’s name also had cropped up in Bhola drug racket in February 2014, during the latter’s interrogation by the ED. Drug lord Bhola had disclosed to the central agency that Damanveer was involved in drug trade and had introduced Delhi smuggler Varinder Raja to Goraya businessman Chunni Lal Gaba, who runs a pharmaceutical unit in Baddi, Himachal Pradesh. The ED has interrogation Damanveer twice since and he is yet to get any clean chit from the agency.
The statement from Phillaur’s son indicates fissures in the ruling SAD, since it is first time that someone from the party has asked Chander to resign. Whenever the CPS has been called to the ED office, the opposition parties have protested against him. Damanveer claims that it has demoralised the Akali workers, adding: “Chander is like my brother and I’ll help him winning the election again.”