A candidate supported by the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) for sarpanch's post at Chuharchak village under Nihal Singh Wala constituency was arrested on Saturday as he was a proclaimed offender wanted in 14 cases of smuggling of poppy husk.
The candidate, who had campaigned for over a fortnight, was arrested by the district police while he was holding an election campaign, on the directions of a local court.
The accused had been declared a proclaimed offender by the additional district and sessions judge, and the Punjab and Haryana high court had recently rejected his bail.
The arrested Akali leader Jagroop Singh Jupi was close to Nihal Singh Wala MLA Rajwinder Kaur Bhagike and SGPC member Jagraj Singh Daudhar. He had supported Daudhar in the SGPC elections and Bhagike in the last assembly elections.
Jupi, who belongs to the scheduled caste category, has a stronghold in Chuharchak village and had filed nomination for the general seat of the sarpanch.
SSP Surjeet Singh Grewal said, "Jupi faces 14 cases of smuggling of poppy husk; two of these cases were registered in 2013. In these cases, 15 kg and 30 kg of poppy husk had been recovered from him."
The SSP said Jupi had filed a bail plea in the high court, which was rejected. "After this, the additional district and sessions court had declared Jupi a proclaimed offender and directed the police to arrest him," said the SSP.
Jupi, claiming to be close to Daudhar and Bhagike, said, "I got more and more votes for Daudhar in the SGPC election, and then for Bhagike in the assembly polls. In the recent block samiti and zila parishad polls, I played an important role in the victory of the SAD candidates of the Bhagike group who contested against former agriculture minister Tota Singh's group."
Daudhar confirmed that Jupi was his close aide. "He would have won the election but luck was not with him as he was arrested," he said.
Bhagike said, "Jupi supported me in the elections, but I have nothing to do with the cases registered against him or his arrest. Jupi has a strong political hold in the area and we unanimously decided to make him run for sarpanch."
Investigating officer Sahib Singh of Ajitwal police station said the police produced Jupi in the court of the duty magistrate in the evening; which sent him to judicial custody.
candidate supported by the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) for sarpanch's post at Chuharchak village under Nihal Singh Wala constituency was arrested on Saturday as he was a proclaimed offender wanted in 14 cases of smuggling of poppy husk.