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Sukhpal Khaira regrets swear words against Punjab CM, but claims to have more info on ‘bribe to judge’

Claiming that he has the support and confidence of AAP chief and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal in his “fight”, Khaira said Kejriwal is guiding him legally, and the petition in the SC was filed on his advice.

punjab Updated: Dec 03, 2017 21:06 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Sukhpal Singh Khaira,Amarinder Singh,Bhagwant Mann
Sukhpal Khaira (right) and state AAP chief Bhagwant Mann at a press conference in Chandigarh on Saturday.(Sanjeev Sharma/HT )

With the municipal polls on December 17 being the new battle, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) put up a united show behind a mellowed leader of opposition Sukhpal Khaira on Saturday.

Flanked by state AAP president Bhagwant Mann and known dissenters such as MLA Baljinder Kaur, Khaira expressed remorse for use of swear words against chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh and other Congress leaders during a press briefing inside the state assembly on the concluding day of the three-day winter session. Khaira had unleashed a frontal attack on Amarinder after the government brought a resolution against the Bains brothers of the Lok Insaaf Party, AAP’s ally and Khaira’s diehard supporters, over allegations that a judge of the Punjab and Haryana high court was bribed to not stay summons against him by a Fazilka court in a drug case. The stay was eventually given by the Supreme Court on Friday.

“It was an unfortunate development. They had dragged the Punjab assembly into vendetta politics by bringing the resolution (against the allegations). I take back the wrong words used by me,” Khaira said addressing the press conference here. He, however, did not withdraw his statements on Amarinder’s personal life. “That is a matter of record. I am collecting more information on the CM’s friend from Pakistan,” he said.

Claiming that he has the support and confidence of AAP chief and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal in his “fight”, Khaira said Kejriwal is guiding him legally, and the petition in the SC was filed on his advice. Reacting to a query on Kejriwal’s silence over the court summons to him, he said, “Has Sonia Gandhi (Congress president) ever reacted to court summons to Amarinder? I am in constant touch with both Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia (Delhi deputy CM). The resolution proves Amarinder is behind the payment of Rs 35 lakh bribe against me,” he said.

Khaira had, on the day of the allegations by the Bains brothers, named Amarinder, Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Badal and power minister Rana Gurjit as the conspirators behind the court summons, but later dropped Captain’s name.

Referring to the audio clip that forms the basis of the allegations, Khaira said a longer version of the recording (1 hour 39 minutes) also has reference to an officer of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and three advocates who work as “go-betweens”. The clip has a purported conversation between lawyer Amit Chaudhary andTK Goyal, a dismissed Punjab Civil Services (PCS) officer, about payment of Rs 35 lakh to a judge in connection with the Khaira case. “We have more information, which we will give at the time of an investigation,” he said.

Simarjeet Bains, the LIP chief, said Amarinder was inflamed by his appeal in a Ludhiana court to become party in the Ludhiana City Centre scam case, adding, “We were never scared of the Badals and we are now not scared of Amarinder.”

AAP to contest polls to 3 corporations on symbol

On whether the party will contest the civic polls on the party symbol, Bhagwant Mann said they have decided to contest the polls to three municipal corporations, Amritsar, Patiala and Jalandhar, on the party symbol and leave the option to contest elections to 32 nagar councils and panchayats to the nominees on the symbol or as independents. “For nagar council and panchayats, some candidates also have their own individual appeal. They can choose to contest as independents,” state unit co-president Aman Arora said.

First Published: Dec 03, 2017 09:48 IST