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ED raids Punjab MLA Khaira, others in drugs money-laundering case

·2-min read

New Delhi/Chandigarh, Mar 9 (PTI) The ED raided the premises of rebel AAP MLA from Punjab Sukhpal Singh Khaira, his family members in Delhi and some jailed convicts on Tuesday in a money-laundering case linked to the 2015 Fazilka narcotics trafficking case and a fake passport racket, officials said.

The MLA, president of the Punjab Ekta Party founded by him in 2019, denied any wrongdoing as he briefly spoke to reporters, who had gathered outside his bungalow number 6 in Chandigarh's sector 5.

The central agency searched a dozen locations -- Khaira's residence, nine places in Punjab and two in Delhi -- including the house of his son-in-law, Inderveer Singh Johal.

The agency alleged that Khaira (56), the MLA from Bholath in Kapurthala district, is an 'associate' of the drugs racket convicts and fake passport racketeers.

Khaira was elected to the state Assembly in 2017 on an Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) ticket, but he later quit the party and launched his own political outfit.

Wearing a T-shirt and track pants, Khaira came out of his residence for a few seconds and told the reporters that he had 'not done anything wrong', adding that the ED sleuths arrived at his house around 7:30 am.

Official sources in the Enforcement Directorate (ED) said the action is being carried out against the Punjab lawmaker and others under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and is aimed at gathering more evidence to take forward the probe.

The case pertains to the probe in the 2015 Fazilka (Punjab) drugs-smuggling case, in which 1,800 grams of heroin, 24 gold biscuits, two weapons, 26 live cartridges and two Pakistani SIM cards were seized from a gang of international drug smugglers by security agencies.

The central agency recently filed a PMLA case in connection with the case, which was first lodged by the Punjab Police.

'The drugs were smuggled through the India-Pakistan border and one of the kingpins of the syndicate is in the UK.

'Sukhpal Singh Khaira was actively aiding and supporting the gang of international smugglers and enjoying the proceeds of crime,' the ED has alleged.

Some of the convicts of the Fazilka drugs case, currently lodged in jail, were also searched and questioned, the agency said.

They were identified as Gurdev Singh, Manjit Singh, Harbans Singh and Subhash Chander, all residents of Fazilka district.

Three people allegedly involved in the fake passport racket -- Harminder Kaur (Jalandhar resident), Rajwinder Kaur (Kapurthala) and Bikker Singh (Kapurthala) -- were also searched.

'Incriminating documents and digital devices have been recovered,' an ED officer said. PTI NES RC