ED issues summons to AAP secretary in money laundering probe against Punjab MLA
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has issued summons to Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national secretary Pankaj Gupta in connection with its probe against former Punjab leader of opposition Sukhpal Singh Khaira who is under investigation in at least two cases of money laundering.
Officials familiar with the development said they have summoned Gupta to seek some clarifications in the probe against the Bholath MLA.
Khaira is under investigation in two cases registered earlier this year to investigate money laundering – first based on a trans-border drugs smuggling network unearthed in Fazilka, Punjab in 2015, and the second pertaining to a fake passport racket in Delhi. The agency even raided Khaira and his son-in-law Inderveer Singh Johal in March this year and they have been questioned a few times.
Officials cited above didn’t divulge further details on why Pankaj Gupta is required for examination in the probe against Khaira or the date when he has been issued the summons.
AAP leader Raghav Chadha tweeted that the party will hold a press conference on the ED notice. “In a first, AAP receives a love letter from Modi Government’s favorite agency -- the Enforcement Directorate. I will address an important press conference today, 1.30pm at AAP headquarters in Delhi -- to expose the political witch hunt of AAP by a rattled BJP,” he said in the tweet.
It is not clear whether Chadha is talking about the summons to Gupta or any other notices have been served on the party by central anti-money laundering probe agency.
Gupta and Chadha didn’t respond to HT’s text, WhatsApp messages and calls.
Earlier, in June, ED had examined three fashion designers -- Manish Malhotra, Sabyasachi and Ritu Kumar in the case against the Punjab legislator as some cash payments were made to them by Khaira.
Khaira was elected to the state assembly in 2017 on an AAP ticket. Two years ago, he quit the party and formed Punjab Ekta Party (PEP). He re-joined Congress, his first party, in June.
In the Fazilka drugs case, 1,800 grams of heroin, 24 gold biscuits, two weapons, 26 live cartridges and two Pakistani SIM cards were seized by Jalalabad police (Punjab) in 2015. Khaira’s name cropped up in the case in 2017.
Although not named in the Punjab police charge sheet, a Fazilka court issued summons to him on November 30, 2017. He was Punjab’s leader of opposition and AAP MLA at that time. Tthe Supreme Court granted him relief by quashing proceedings against him.