Charges framed against ex-Akali minister Phillaur, son, former CPS Avinash Chander in Bhola drug racket case
Former Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) minister Sarwan Singh Phillaur, his son Damanvir Phillaur and former chief parliamentary secretary (CPS) Avinash Chander would face trial, along with eight others, under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
Additional district and sessions judge, CBI special court, Mohali, NS Gill, on Tuesday framed charges against 11 persons facing charges of money laundering in a case registered by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the multi-crore Jagdish Bhola drug racket.
Phillaur resigned as tourism and jails minister from the Akali government in April 2014 after his son Damanvir’s name cropped up in the Bhola drug case. Sarwan Phillaur, who switched to the Congress just before the last assembly polls, is the first politician to have been chargesheeted in the case even as names of many leaders had cropped up. In April 2017, the ED had attached the houses of Sarwan and his son in Jalandhar.
In the charge sheet filed by the ED in the CBI court at Mohali, the agency has sought prosecution on charges carrying jail terms of up to 12 years and confiscation of properties worth more than ₹100 crore already attached in the case.
“After Jagdish Bhola named Phillaur’s son Damanvir involved in this trade, we investigated their properties and other assets. Our probe has found wealth they collected through illegal means. They had common business with Goraya-based businessman Chunni Lal Gaba whose factories were manufacturing drugs,” says the charge sheet. A diary seized by the income tax department from Gaba’s premises had found an entry of ₹8 lakh paid to Chander.
The court has framed charges under Section 4 of PMLA against former jails minister Sarwan Singh Phillaur, 72; former chief parliamentary secretary Avinash Chander, 54; Phillaur’s son Damanvir Singh, 37; businessman Jagjit Singh Chahal, 47; his Ludhiana-based brother Paramjit Singh Chahal, 42; Jagjit’s wife Inderjit Kaur, 45; Davinder Kant Sharma, 49, of Una (Himachal Pradesh) who worked as a manager at Chahal’s drug manufacturing factory in Gagret; Sachin Sardana; Sushil Kumar Sardana; Kailash Sardana; wife of Sushil Kumar Sardana and Rashmi Sardana (wife of Sachin Sardana).
Another accused, Jaswinder Singh of Shahkot, is proclaimed offender in the case.