Youth Akali Dal (YAD) senior district vice-president Manjeet Singh Billa was on Friday arrested in a drug case on the basis of clues received from close friend and party colleague Gurmail Singh “Bhola Haripuria” during his arrest on June 3.
Like Gurmail, Billa also is part of the inner circle of chief parliamentary secretary (CPS) and Phillaur legislator Avinash Chander. He was caught there in a routine trap on the Akalpur road in Phillaur, states the first information report (FIR), adding that 110-gm “chitta” (white, powdered chemical drug) was seized from his car.
Phillaur station house officer (SHO) Param Sunil Singh Randhawa confirmed the lodging of the case against Billa and his grilling for clues to further links in the chain.
Coming from Nangal village near Phillaur, Billa is said to be the key man looking after Gurmail’s “business” in the area. Senior superintendent of police (rural) Narender Bhargav himself had interrogated Gurmail on June 3 and got his written statement before “letting him off”.
The police are tightlipped about the where abouts of Gurmail since, and sources in the crime investigation department (CID) said he was in Europe. After the news spread late Friday, all senior police officials of Jalandhar rural police jurisdiction, including the SSP, either switched off their mobile phones or denied commenting on it. The cell phone of Gurmail also remained “not working”.
State Youth Congress president Vikramjeet Chaudhary, who also is from Phillaur, accused the police of helping a drug-case accused flee. “On the one hand, they arrested his partner in crime, Billa, and on the other hand, allowed him flee India. What is this going on? Is it match-fixing to save CPS Avinash Chander?” said Chaudhary. The CPS was also unavailable for comments, as he was also said to be in Europe on a “personal” trip.
A close relative of Gurmail who was approached said the leader had not fled but gone to Europe to be with family. “He visits them often,” he said.