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'Channi aam aadmi nahi, baiman aadmi hai': Kejriwal attacks Punjab CM amid ED raids

Kejriwal made the comment as the Enforcement Directorate (ED) raided the premises linked to the Channi's nephew and others as part of a money laundering probe against "sand mafia".

Published: 19th January 2022 07:39 PM  |   Last Updated: 19th January 2022 07:39 PM   |  A+A-

Delhi Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal (Photo | Parveen Negi, EPS)

Delhi Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal (Photo | Parveen Negi, EPS)

By PTI

CHANDIGARH: Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday said Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Channi is not a common man but a "dishonest man" as he sought to corner the Congress leader over ED raids on the premises of his nephew.

Kejriwal made the comment as the Enforcement Directorate (ED) raided the premises linked to the Channi's nephew and others as part of a money laundering probe against "sand mafia".

Channi has dubbed the raids an attempt to "trap" him in the case while claiming that it was being done to take revenge as PM Narendra Modi had to return without addressing a rally in Ferozepur earlier this month.

Kejriwal through his comment sought to target the common man image, which Channi has tried to cultivate following his elevation as the chief minister last year.

"Channi aam aadmi nahi, baiman aadmi hai (Channi is not a common man, he is a dishonest man)," Kejriwal tweeted in Hindi attacking the CM on Wednesday.

On Tuesday too, Kejriwal had attacked Channi over illegal sand mining.

"It is sad that a relative of the chief minister is being raided for sand mining," Kejriwal had said, adding that his party leader had earlier exposed how illegal sand mining was taking place in Channi's Assembly constituency Chamkaur Sahib.

"Despite uncovering it, the chief minister did not take action and even tried to justify it. It is clear that he (CM) and his family are involved in illegal sand mining. What can be expected for Punjab's future from a person whose family is involved in illegal mining," he had said.

The ED raids have taken place just a month before the state goes to the polls on February 20.

The action has been initiated after taking cognisance of a 2018 FIR lodged at a Nawanshahr (Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar) police station.

According to ED sources, they seized around Rs 10 crore in cash, including Rs 8 crore from the premises linked to Channi's nephew.

Channi on Wednesday accused the BJP-led central government of hatching a “conspiracy” to “trap” him in the case in which raids were conducted by the Enforcement Directorate at many places in the state.

He alleged that whenever elections are to take place, the BJP government at the Centre uses agencies like the Enforcement Directorate (ED), Income Tax and others against political opponents to target and arm-twist them.

"A conspiracy has been hatched to trap me in this case," claimed Channi, referring to the ED raids conducted at the residence of his nephew on Tuesday.

He alleged that attempts were being made by the federal probe agency sleuths to "trap" him in the case.

Channi, accompanied by some ministers including Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, was addressing a press conference.

ED sources said on Wednesday about Rs 10 crore cash has been seized during the raids conducted in an anti-money laundering investigation against illegal sand mining operations in Punjab that included about Rs 8 crore from the premises linked to Bhupinder Singh alias Honey, a nephew of Channi.

Another about Rs 2 crore has been seized from the premises linked to a person identified as Sandeep Kumar, they said.

Reacting to the ED raid at his nephew's premises, Channi claimed that he was not even named in a 2018 FIR of the Nawanshahr (Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar district) Police.

However, officials said the action has been initiated after taking cognisance of the 2018 FIR of the Nawanshahr Police and some other such police complaints against some companies and individuals alleged to be involved in the business of illegal sand mining in the state.

Channi also sought to link the ED raids at the premises of his nephew to the recent scheduled Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Ferozepur, during which the PM returned without addressing a rally after his convoy got stuck for 15-20 minutes due to farmers' protest.

"What was my fault, if Modi had to return? Why revenge is being taken on me," the chief minister asked, referring to the ED raids.

Punjab is scheduled to go to the polls on February 20.

has siezed around Rs 10 crore in cash, including Rs 8 crore from premises linked to a relative of Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi, during the raids conducted in an anti-money laundering investigation against illegal sand mining operations in the poll-bound border state, officials said on Wednesday.

The raids that were launched at a dozen locations in the state on Tuesday were completed early this morning with the agency also seizing a number of documents and electronic devices.

About Rs 10 crore cash has been seized during the operation that includes about Rs 8 crore from the premises linked to Bhupinder Singh alias Honey, a nephew of Channi, sources said.

Another about Rs 2 crore has been seized from the premises linked to a person identified as Sandeep Kumar, they said.

The federal probe agency, according to the sources, is expected to soon summon people covered during the searches for a fresh and detailed round of questioning.

Preliminary questioning of those covered in the raids was done over the last 24 hours, they said.

In all, a dozen locations in the state including in Chandigarh, Mohali, Ludhiana and Pathankot were covered by the officials of the federal agency.

The raids were conducted under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

Reacting to the raids, Channi had told reporters on Tuesday that relatives of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee were raided during the assembly polls in that state and the "same pattern" is being followed by the ED in Punjab to "pressure" him, his ministers and Congress party members.

"We are ready to handle the pressure," he said, adding, he had no links with the case.

The sources had said Honey's links with a person identified as Kudratdeep Singh are being investigated by the agency and the latter is the focus of their action.

They said Honey and Singh are partners in a firm.

Opposition parties have earlier linked Channi with the dealings of Honey which the former had denied.

The ED filed a criminal case under the PMLA in this case in November last year.

The action has been initiated after taking cognisance of a 2018 FIR of the Nawanshahr (Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar district) Police and some other such police complaints against some companies and individuals alleged to be involved in the business of illegal sand mining in the state.

A number of truck drivers and other operatives involved in the extraction and transportation of sand were named as accused in these police FIRs.

The sources said the police FIR is only the start of an investigation and once the ED takes over a case under the PMLA, it is empowered to enlarge its probe to verify the role of all those who are linked to the alleged illegal activity including those giving "protection" to the sand mining mafia.

The ED, the sources said, found that mining was being carried out at non-notified areas and the 'sand mafia' was diverting and laundering the illegally earned monies into creating personal and benami assets.

Voting for 117 assembly seats in Punjab is slated to be held on February 20.



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