SAD vindicated, AAP should throw out Sukhpal Khaira, says Sukhbir Badal

It was for the first time a leader of opposition of a legislative assembly or parliament had been indicted in a drug racket, Badal told reporters in Chandigarh.

punjab Updated: Nov 17, 2017 20:32 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Sukhbir Badal,Sukhpal Khaira,AAP punjab
Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal (HT File)

After the Punjab and Haryana high court set aside the petition of Sukhpal Singh Khaira, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader and Punjab assembly leader of opposition, seeking quashing of the summons issued by a Fazilka court in a 2015 drug seizure case, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal on Friday asked AAP national chief Arvind Kejriwal to dismiss Khaira from the party immediately.

He asked director general of police Suresh Arora to arrest Khaira and chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh to issue instructions to file a challan against Khaira.

Addressing a press conference in Patiala and later in Chandigarh, Sukhbir said it was for the first time that a leader of opposition of a Vidhan Sabha was charged in a drug case.

He said, “If Kejriwal fails to take action against Sukhpal Khaira even after today’s developments, it will be surmised that he has also been compromised by the latter.”

Stating that “now when overwhelming evidence is available against Khaira on record”, it is the onus of the Congress government to file a challan in the case. He claimed, “This is of utmost importance as the court has made it clear that no vendetta had been exercised against Khaira in the case.”

Sukhbir said the AAP was accusing the SAD and its leaders of having links with the drug mafia, but now after the high court’s jolt, Khaira’s “links in the transborder heroin smuggling case” stand vindicated. “It is one the major blots on Khaira and the AAP as a whole. Kejriwal must throw him out of the party,” Sukhbir said.

The Khaira case

On March 5, the police had arrested 10 people, including Gurdev Singh of Bholath, former chairman of the market committee, Dhilwan, and claimed that they seized 2-kg heroin, 2 Pakistani SIM cards, a mobile phone, 24 gold biscuits (333 gm), two small arms and a Tata Safari fro them. Gurdev Singh was stated to be a close associate of Khaira.

During investigation, Khaira’s name cropped up after the police claimed that Khaira and his confidant Gurdev, a resident of Lakhan ke Padda village in Kapurthala district and Khaira had allegedly spoken over phone to each other on 78 occasions during the past 11 months from the time before police arrested Gurdev on March 5, 2015.

However, Khaira’s name was not mentioned in the chargesheet filed against the accused in October 2015. On October 31, a Fazilka court sentenced them to imprisonment, ranging from three to 20 years, for trans-border heroin smuggling. The court has summoned Khaira on November 30.

Dig at Amarinder

Meanhile, Sukhbir, on CM Amarinder’s statement regarding possibly carrying on with his political career after his tenure ends in 2022, said such a statement is a result of fights within the Congress. Amarinder had earlier termed this as his last term. “It is challenging for Captain Amarinder to survive and complete his tenure, as all party leaders, including Partap Singh Bajwa, Navjot Singh Sidhu and Manpreet Badal, are aspiring for the CM post. The CM seems to have continued with his political career to give a sort of scolding to these Congress leaders,” Sukhbir said.

First Published: Nov 17, 2017 20:04 IST