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Saturday, Sep 21, 2019

‘Goonda tax’: AAP MLA Sukhpal Khaira demands inquiry by CBI or high court judge

“The finger of suspicion is at his own son, and CM Capt Amarinder Singh should order a probe by the CBI or by a sitting high court judge into the role of everyone, irrespective of which party they belong to.”

punjab Updated: Feb 27, 2018 10:01 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Leader of opposition Sukhpal Singh Khaira (R) and Kharar MLA Kanwar Sandhu of the Aam Aadmi Party at a press conference in Chandigarh on Monday.
Leader of opposition Sukhpal Singh Khaira (R) and Kharar MLA Kanwar Sandhu of the Aam Aadmi Party at a press conference in Chandigarh on Monday.(Sikander Singh/HT)

Aam Aadmi Party MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira, who is leader of the opposition in Punjab Vidhan Sabha, on Monday demanded a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) or a judge of the Punjab and Haryana high court into allegations of henchmen of the ruling Congress leaders seeking “goonda tax” on supply of sand and gravel at Guru Gobind Singh Refinery, Bathinda. 

Drug case: ‘Why are Satta, Pindi not on extradition list given to Trudeau?’ 
  • Punjab leader of opposition Sukhpal Singh Khaira questioned on Monday why chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh had not submitted the list of NRIs such as Satpreet Singh Satta and Parminder Singh Pindi, whose extradition has been sought by the Enforcement Directorate in the Jagdish Bhola drug case, to Canadian premier Justin Trudeau. “Is Captain trying to shield someone? The list of suspected anti-nationals should have been submitted at the Union home minister level. Captain should have tried to boost Canadian investment in Punjab and check illegal immigration,” he said. Both the NRIs are alleged to have relations with a former Akali minister. Amarinder submitted a list of nine wanted men, belonging allegedly to Khalistani separatism and believed to be in Canada, to Trudeau when the two met last week.  

Three firms awarded contracts at the refinery have approached the district administration with complaints of such extortion since September. Two of them have also written to the chief justice of the high court and and chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh alleging that the henchmen force them to buy sand and gravel only from them at exorbitant rates. Ashok Bansal, who has a ready-mix concrete (RMC) plant at the refinery, has also submitted two audio clips as proof to the Bathinda administration. 

 Addressing a press conference here, Khaira said Amandeep Sidhu, the person named as the main conduit in the letter of Bansal, had met Amarinder’s son Raninder Singh through the latter’s close aide, Palwinder Singh aka Pappi Adnia, at Patiala. 

He further said, “Amarjeet Mehta, whose firm AP Miles (P) Ltd also supplies sand and gravel to the refinery, took officers of Sam India to Jaijit Singh alias Jojo to get rid of Gurbaksh Dhillion known as GD, who is an associate of Rampura Phul MLA Gurpreet Singh Kangar. Amandeep then took them to Raninder through Adnia. The letters of two firms also allege the henchmen claim to have direct protection of the CM house. The finger of suspicion is at his own son and the CM should order a probe by CBI or sitting high court judge to probe the role of everyone, irrespective of which party they belong to,” Khaira said. Raninder has refuted the allegations.

Khaira also produced a letter by two officials of the refinery dated January 19 to the state police chief claiming “criminal defamation” by some politically motivated people.  “The CM too ordered the DGP to crackdown on goonda tax in the middle of the Febrauary 15 cabinet meeting. The police chief needs to explain what has he done so far,” he said. 

Khaira also demanded that the government must calculate the quantum of “goonda tax” collected over the years and ensure its recovery from the mafia and politicians, besides initiating criminal proceedings against them.

AAP MLA Kanwar Sandhu, also present, said the first letter was written by Sam India in September last year and Bansal wrote on February 22. “The government refused to act against the mafia for  more than six months,” he said. The Shiromani Akali Dal too has requested the HC chief justice to order a probe into the matter following the letter.

First Published: Feb 27, 2018 10:00 IST