Punjab’s Leader of Opposition Sukhpal Singh Khaira was on Wednesday summoned by a court in Fazilka town in connection with a drugs case, leading to a war of words between his Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the ruling Congress.
Khaira’s name had come up in a heroin smuggling case after the arrest of some drugs smugglers by police in Fazilka in 2015. Admitting an application under Section 319 of the Criminal Procedure Code providing for adding additional accused, the court of Additional District and Sessions Judge in Fazilka on Wednesday ordered issuance of summons to Khaira in the case.
Slamming the Congress government for unleashing political vendetta against him, Khaira said that his summoning by the Fazilka court was “wrongful and erroneous” and “done at the behest of (Chief Minister) Capt. Amarinder Singh through his politically motivated prosecution machinery”.
“These maliciously false allegations of the Amarinder government are yet another attempt to intimidate me and gag my voice against corruption and other misdeeds. The conspiracy to nail me in an utterly false drugs case amounted to shooting the messenger and silencing the voice of whistleblowers,” Khaira told media here.
“It is sad to note, that while Amarinder Singh is blatantly shielding the actual drug kingpin Bikram Majithia despite sensational evidence against him, I am being framed falsely to settle scores,” he said, wondering how the additional Public Prosecutor of Fazilka could move a vague application seeking his summoning, when he was neither named in the FIR nor in the chargesheet nor in any statement of independent witnesses.
Khaira said that when the drug scandal broke out in March 2015, the then Parkash Singh Badal government has set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by the then IG Bathinda Zone, DIG Ferozpur Range and SSP Fazilka as its members.
“The SIT went deeply into the case but could not find anything incriminating against me because of which my name never figured in FIR, chargesheet and the trial. It is also astonishing how a court could summon him when the trial in the said drug case has concluded,” he argued.
He said that it was surprising that he is being summoned on the basis of call records which have been wrongly presented by the Additional PP to the Fazilka court accusing him calling the accused in the drugs case 78 times.
Punjab Congress President Sunil Jakhar on Wednesday said that Khaira had lost the moral ground to continue as Leader of Opposition and asked him to step down immediately, adding that the serious charges against the AAP leader called for his immediate ouster from all political and statutory posts.
“The Punjab political system under Amarinder Singh had no place for such criminals,” Jakhar said in a statement here.
He said that Khaira and AAP had taken a high moral ground on the drugs case and his summoning by the court had exposed their double standards.