ED searches Punjab MLA Sukhpal Khaira properties (2nd Ld)

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday carried out searches at eight locations linked to Punjab Ekta Party MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira in Chandigarh, Punjab and also at the property of his son-in-law in Delhi in connection with drugs money laundering and fake passport racket case, officials said.

An ED official related to the probe told IANS, “Searches are going on since morning on several premises linked to Khaira in Punjab and Chandigarh.”

The official said that searches were going on at five locations in Punjab, one in Chandigarh and two locations in Delhi.

He said that ED’s officials also carried out searches at the residence of Khaira’s son-in-law Inder Veer Johal here in Delhi.

Sharing the details of the case, the ED official said that the drugs case was registered in Punjab’s Fazilka after 1,800 grams of heroin, 24 gold biscuits, two weapons and some live cartridges, some Pakistani SIM cards were recovered. In that case, which was registered by the Punjab Police, conviction has already happened.

The official said that Khaira was associated with some of the convicted in this drugs case, and that was the reason why the financial probe agency carried out searches at his premises.

Sharing the details of the fake passport racket case, the officer said that in this case also Khaira has been associated with the people named in the case.

When asked about the role of Khaira’s son-in-law, the officer said, “He used to help his father-in-law in money laundering through his company which works in the field of Wi-Fi systems.”

The team of ED sleuths were also carrying out searches at Sector 5 residence of Khaira in Chandigarh. At the time of the raid Khaira was present in the house along with his lawyer son.

Khaira is a legislator from Bholath and former Leader of Opposition.

The official said that the agency was looking after the property papers as well as banking transactions of Khaira.

However, Khaira denied any wrongdoing. His counsel blamed the raid for supporting the ongoing farmers’ agitation.

Senior advocate R.S. Bains, who reached Khaira’s residence, told the media that the raid was conducted to target those supporting the ongoing farmers’ agitation against three new agricultural laws.

On March 8, Khaira supported the farmers by tweeting, “Our women farmers are our strength. They are sitting in the protest alongside men from last three months as well. They also know that how these laws will affect their lives. Their presence in the protest give us double power.”

In 2019, Khaira floated a new regional political outfit, the Punjabi Ekta Party, and vowed to give a clean alternative to the people of the state.

Khaira had resigned from the Aam Aadmi Party citing the ‘dictatorial’ attitude of party chief Arvind Kejriwal. –IANS