Personally feel Majithia involved in drug trade, but need proof to act: Amarinder Singh

The chief minister was responding to a reporter’s query about 40 MLAs of his party having written to him to act against Bikram Singh Majithia.

punjab Updated: Oct 26, 2017 21:08 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Jalandhar
Amarinder Singh,Bikram Singh Majithia,drug trade
Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh (HT File Photo)

Often accused by leaders within the Congress and by the opposition of being soft towards Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader minister Bikram Singh Majithia, chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh on Thursday said he “personally feels” Majithia and some other Akalis “may have been involved” in the drug trade but “can’t act against them without any evidence”.

He was responding to a reporter’s query about 40 MLAs of his party having written to him to act against Majithia, a former revenue minister, on the basis of an investigation by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). The government will not spare Majithia or anyone else proved to be guilty in drug trading in the state, he vowed, assuring the MLAs.

He said that at present four central agencies – ED, income tax department, directorate of revenue intelligence and the narcotics bureau — are conducting a probe into the drug racket that was busted with the arrest of former policeman Jagdish Bhola. He said he has ordered the state police chief to help the agencies whenever they need any kind of assistance.

Meanwhile, local bodies minister Navjot Singh Sidhu continually targeted Majithia in his address at a party workers’ meeting and also SAD chief and former deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal.

On Canadian Sikh leaders

In response to another question, the CM castigated Indian-origin Canadian defence minister Harjit Sajjan and newly-elected leader of the New Democratic Party (NDP) there, Jagmeet Singh, for “trying to whip up communal passions in India with their irresponsible and inflammatory statements”.

He said that if both these leaders consider themselves Indians, “they should not make such statements which can destabilise Punjab and in fact the whole of India”.

But he dismissed the statement of his party MP from Ludhiana, Ravneet Singh Bittu, that the masterminds of recent killings of Hindu right-wing leaders in Punjab are sitting in Canada.

Regulating education

On another subject, he denied having overruled recommendations of the advocate general in deciding to set up a regulator for private universities in the state. He said the move is in line with legal advice given by the AG and is aimed at strengthening the higher education system in the state to create jobs.

Also sharing the rationale for the government’s decision to close down some primary schools, the CM said the schools were being “amalgamated” with other institutions for “better efficiencies”. With the amalgamation planned within a 1-km radius, the move will not have any adverse effect on students, he added.

First Published: Oct 26, 2017 20:44 IST