Congress leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira arrested by Punjab police in old drugs case
Khaira, the MLA from Bholath, went live on Facebook during the raids where he can be seen arguing with the police and asking for a warrant.
The Punjab police on Thursday morning arrested Congress leader and MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira in connection with an old case registered against him under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act. The arrest came after the Punjab police led by SP Manjeet Singh and DSP AR Sharma raided his Chandigarh house at around 6:30 am.
Khaira, the MLA from Bholath, went live on Facebook during the raids where he can be seen arguing with the police and asking for a warrant. While the police can be seen telling him that he is being arrested in an old NDPS case on the recommendation of a probe conducted by an SIT led by a DIG rank officer and two SSPs, the MLA claimed that the case was already quashed by the Supreme Court.
The police can also be seen telling Khaira’s son Mehtab Khaira that the MLA is being taken to Jalalabad police station.
Meanwhile, Punjab Congress President Amarinder Singh Raja Warring hit out at the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government over Khaira's arrest, calling it an act of “political vendetta”.
“The recent arrest of @INCPunjab MLA @SukhpalKhaira ji smacks of Political Vendetta, it is an attempt to intimidate the opposition and is a ploy of the @AAPPunjab govt to distract from core issues. We stand strongly with Sukhpal Khaira and will take this fight to its logical conclusion,” he wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.
What is the drugs case?
In March 2015, the police registered an FIR in a case under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act. As the trial went on, nine people were convicted in 2017 after the police recovered two kg heroin, 24 gold biscuits, one country-made pistol, and two Pakistani SIM cards from them. Subsequently, Khaira's name cropped up during the investigation as an additional accused.
In 2021, Khaira - who has been a vocal critic of Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supremo Arvind Kejriwal - was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on charges of money laundering linked with the same FIR in which he was arrested today. However, the court granted him bail in 2022.
On February 16, 2023, a Supreme Court bench of Justices BR Gavai and Vikram Nath quashed the summoning order against Khaira in the drugs case.