BJP wants Akali CPS Chander to step down

  • Ravinder Vasudeva, Hindustan Times, Jalandhar
  • Updated: Oct 21, 2014 09:15 IST

A day after the Haryana election results and embarrassing its Akali partners on a public platform, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday took the drug issue further and asked for the resignation of Phillaur’s Akali legislator Avinash Chander as chief parliamentary secretary (CPS).

Chander, who heads the department of higher education, and two of his close aides are being questioned by Enforcement Directorate (ED) about money laundering linked to a drug haul. “The chief minister should ask him to quit, as has the ED’s summoning him again and again has embarrassed the government,” said state BJP chief Kamal Sharma, when asked for his comments about the investigation.

ED has interrogated the CPS twice in the past seven days, and one of his key fundraisers in the Phillaur assembly segment, Chattinder Goyal “Seeta Arhtiya” was also questioned last week. Goyal is the third CPS aide after Gurmail Singh Bhola and Manjeet Singh Billa to come under investigation.

“When former minister Sarwan Singh Phillaur quit as minister after his son’s name appeared in the same drug case, the BJP had welcomed the move,” said Sharma, adding: “But since that resignation, it appears that the government has lost sight of the important issue. Our demand for the resignation of the CPS is to keep it alive. Let the investigations be; if CPS is clean, he will come out clean.”

He said he would meet the chief minister in a day or two to demand a decision.

Ex-NRI Sabha chief Hayer also in ED net

More trouble brewed for the CPS on Monday, since the ED now summoned his close friend and local industrialist Kamaljeet Hayer, owner of Hotel Country Inn and former president of the NRI Sabha.

Hayer, who is close to the leaders of the other political parties as well, was under interrogation for three hours. Former minister Phillaur also appeared before the ED on Monday. Their names are in the secret diary of Goraya businessman Chunni Lal Gaba, as recipients of election fund in lieu of support to the synthetic-drug trade.

The statement of captured drug lord Jagdish Bhola to the ED suggests that Phillaur’s son, Damanvir, had introduced Delhi-based synthetic drug supplier Varinder “Raja” to Gaba; and Varinder had got pseudoephedrine (chemical raw material for synthetic drugs) from Gaba’s pharmaceutical factory at Gagret in Himachal Pradesh.

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