NEW DELHI: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday conducted searches at the various properties of 'rebel' AAP MLA from Punjab Sukhpal Singh Khaira in connection with a
money-laundering case linked to narcotics trafficking and the creation of an alleged fake passport.
Reacting to the raids, the AAP MLA said that the central government is trying to suppress his voice as he supported the ongoing farmers' protests.
According to sources, ED sleuths who came in from Delhi conducted searches since morning at his Sector 5 residence in Chandigarh. Similar searches are underway at properties linked to Khaira in Haryana and Delhi after a money laundering case was registered.
Sources said that the property papers, as well as banking transactions of Khaira, are being looked into. The Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) probe is related to alleged drug trafficking and a fake passport case as a few accused in the case are lodged in jail.
Khaira from Bhulath in Kapurthala district was elected to the state assembly in 2017 on an AAP ticket. In 2019, he floated `Punjab Ekta Party’ with units abroad.
A Congress MLA from the same constituency, Khaira had been vocal on the issue of the suspicious death of farmer Navreet Singh, who died on January 26 during the farmers' protest.
"The Union union government is trying to gag my voice as I have supported the farmers' agitation and raised the issue of death of farmer Navreet Singh who died on January 26 during the farmers' protest. The ED also recently conducted raids at the premises of actress Tapsee Pannu and filmmaker Anurag Kashpay as the government is afraid of us. I and my family have always been fighting for justice and supporting the truth and have never done anything wrong in our life," Khaira said.
"There is no duplicate or fake passport with me and this allegation is totally wrong. I got the notice for money laundering. But I want to tell you that I am in debt as two years ago I have taken Rs 2 crore agriculture limit which I have not paid till date. I am still repaying it by borrowing money from my relatives and friends. My income is legitimate."
Khaira further said that the ED officials are doing their duty and a team headed by a deputy director along with assistant directors and others are searching their properties. "Our phones have been taken and I do not know any details. I believe that our family house in the ancestral village of Ramgarh is also raided. They are scanning all documents," he said.
"I am not afraid of the raid as earlier also on the directions of SAD-BJP and Congress governments in Punjab, the state agencies have raided my properties."