Punjab Congress MLA Sukhpal Khaira arrested in old drug case

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Punjab Congress MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira was arrested on Thursday in an eight-year-old case lodged against him under the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.

Khaira, who crossed over to the Congress from Aam Aadmi Party in 2021, was picked up from his residence here early morning by a Punjab police team led by Fazilka Superintendent of police Manjeet Singh.

The legislator from Bholath was in a live Facebook session when the police raided his residence. He continued the live session and was even heard arguing with the cops and asking for an arrest warrant.

The police said Khaira has been arrested in connection with a drugs case registered in 2015. A Special Investigation Team probing the old case, recommended his arrest.

Later, a court remanded Khaira to police custody for two days.

Angry over the arrest, Punjab Congress president Amrinder Singh Warring said it “smacks of poliitical vendetta” and vowed to stand with Khaira.

“The recent arrest of INC Punjab MLA Sukhpal Khaira ji smacks of Political Vendetta, it is an attempt to intimidate the opposition and is a ploy of the AAP govt to distract from core issues. We stand strongly with Sukhpal Khaira and will take this fight to its logical conclusion,” Warring wrote on X, formerly called Twitter.

The state’s ruling AAP, however, said that the new SIT has found enough evidence about Khaira’s involvement in drug smuggling.

AAP Punjab Chief Spokesperson Malvinder Singh Kang denied that Khaira’s arrest was not prompted by any “political vendetta:. “He has been arrested on the basis of evidence found against him during the SIT investigation. If we wanted any political revenge, we have a government in Punjab for more than a year and half now, he would have been arrested earlier,” he said.

Kang said in 2022, the Supreme Court had given relief to Khaira, but the court had clearly written in its order that the Punjab Police can re-investigate the case. Based on the Supreme Court order, an SIT was formed which started re-investigating the case.

He claimed that both Singh and Gurdev Singh, against whom allegations of drug smuggling were made in a case during the SAD-BJP government in 2015, are very close to Khaira.

That is why the ED had also registered a case of money laundering againstKhaira at that time and he had also gone to jail in that case. Kang said that this matter is very serious because it has links from Pakistan to the UK.

Appealing to all political parties of Punjab, Kang said that if the opposition wanted to eliminate drugs from Punjab, then they shouldn’t oppose Khaira’s arrest. If any party opposes this, it will be clear that they support drug smuggling.

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