FEROZEPUR: Ferozepur District BJP Yuva Morcha President Jagpal Singh Sandhu has been arrested for allegedly accepting graft to facilitate the release of a drug smuggler, police said today.
Jagpal alias Jimmy, who was earlier the personal assistant to state BJP chief Kamal Sharma, was booked a fortnight ago on charges of accepting graft to facilitate the release of a drug smuggler Amritpal Singh, who was arrested by police along with two pistols and contraband in this district.
Jimmy had surrendered before police on Saturday night after police had mounted pressure on him to appear.
Ferozepur SSP Hardyal Singh said that he was presented before Dipal Singh, Judicial Magistrate (First Class), who sent him to one-day police remand.
Amarjit Singh, SP (Detective), who is investigating the charges against Jimmy, said that an amount of Rs 3 lakh which was allegedly accepted by Jimmy as bribe money from one Manoj Kumar, a clerk in DC office, to help him wriggle out of police case lodged against him in fake arms licence racket, was also recovered from his house today.
Police said there are two separate cases in which Jimmy had allegedly accepted money to help the accused persons.
Police said that in the case involving Manoj Kumar, an amount of Rs 15 lakh had exchanged hands which was allegedly shared by Jimmy with two others.
Police were likely to interrogate Arvinder Singh Chinna alias Pothi, who has been claiming to be the OSD to the state BJP Chief. An inspector-level officer revealed that during interrogation, Jimmy admitted to have passed on Rs 6 lakh to Pothi out of the graft money taken from Manoj.
Meanwhile, Congress demanded the resignation of the state BJP chief following the development and some BJP leaders to internally sought removal of Sharma.
Reacting to the arrest, Sharma said Sandhu was never his PA or secretary. "He was just a president of the Ferozepur District BJP Yuva Morcha," the state BJP chief added.
After getting the information about his arrest, "I shunted him out from the party and also from the post of district president of the youth wing of the party. He said that he had never made any attempt to save the accused. Now let the law take its own course," Sharma said, ruling out his resignation.
In the case involving drug peddler Amritpal Singh who was arrested under the NDPS Act and the Arms Act, Jimmy had allegedly accepted Rs 10 lakh, besides Rs 5 lakh taken by the middleman Lakhwinder Singh "Lakha", police said.
Out of the said amount, Jimmy had passed on some money to DSP Balwinder Singh Sekhon besides two other BJP leaders, they claimed.
Gurdip Singh, SHO of Ferozepur City police station, said that after the matter came into public domain, Jimmy along with the others returned the entire graft money to the middleman Lakha, which was later recovered by police during a raid at his residence.
"We have already recovered Rs 14 lakh out of Rs 15 lakh paid by the family of Amritpal," the SHO said.
Jimmy, along with DSP Sekhon and Lakha, had taken money to remove the names of Amritpal's father, wife and brother from an FIR registered on June 20 at Sadar police station after two pistols and 100 grams heroin was recovered from him.
A police officer said they are likely to arrest Gurcharan Singh, BJP President of Block Mallanwala who also reportedly shared the graft money.
Two other accused - DSP Balwinder Singh Sekhon and BJP's District President Jugraj Singh Katora -- have been absconding since they were summoned by police to join the probe.