New Delhi [India], September 29 (ANI): Following the arrest of Congress MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MP Sushil Gupta on Friday asserted that Khaira had joined the Congress for political protection so that he doesn't get arrested.
Earlier on Thursday, Khaira was arrested from his residence and later was sent to a two-day police remand by Fazlika's Jalalabad court in connection with a 2015 drugs smuggling case. Fazlika's Jalalabad court sent Khaira to police custody till September 30.
"Sukhpal Singh Khaira joined Congress for political protection so that he doesn't get arrested...For somebody who's involved in drugs, why would Congress think of letting Khaira join the party despite what local units say?" AAP MP said.
He further said, "Rahul Gandhi himself is against drugs. If he is against drugs then why would they think of letting such a person join." Congress workers led by Punjab party chief Amarinder Singh Raja Warring and Partap Singh Bajwa gathered outside the Fazilka CIA office where they were not allowed to meet Khaira.
After not being allowed to meet Congress MLA Sukhpal Khaira in Fazilka, Leader of Opposition in the Punjab Legislative Assembly Partap Singh Bajwa said that they will fight this vendetta of the AAP party legally and on the streets.
"Went to meet our MLA Sukhpal Khaira in Fazilka today with the senior leadership of Punjab Congress. The police stopped us from meeting him. We will fight this vendetta of the AAP party legally and on the streets. We won't be cowed down by such pressure tactics," Bajwa posted on X (Formerly Twitter).
Meanwhile, Punjab unit chief Amarinder Singh Raja Warring said that the party will fight till the end against the arrest of Khaira.
"Vendetta politics is being done by involving him (Sukhpal Singh Khaira) in an old case. We will first meet Khaira and after meeting him we will decide what we have to do. This is being done to take revenge," Punjab Congress chief Warring said while speaking to reporters.
Sukhpal Khaira was arrested in connection with an old case registered in 2015 under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.
Earlier in 2015, there were two cases originated with the unearthing of a cross-border drug smuggling network in Fazilka, Punjab, leading to the seizure of heroin, gold biscuits, weapons, cartridges, and Pakistani SIM cards and the second of a fake passport racket being run in Delhi.
As the trial went on, nine smugglers, including Gurdev Singh, Manjit Singh, Harbans Singh, and Subhash Chander, were sentenced in October 2017 in connection with the Fazilka case. As per the chargesheet, Sukhpal Khaira was closely associated with Gurdev Singh, the leader of the Fazilka drug smuggling racket, and was accused of having sheltered him.
The primary accusations against Khaira included supporting an international gang of smugglers, having sheltered him and receiving financial benefits from drug traffickers, and enjoying the proceeds of crime.
On February 16, 2023, a Supreme Court bench of Justices BR Gavai and Vikram Nath quashed the summoning order against Khaira in the drugs case.
The arrest of Sukhpal Khaira is expected to further dent the relations of AAP and the Congress which have come together to form the INDIA alliance at the centre. The state unit of the Congress has opposed any tie-up or seat sharing arrangement with the AAP in Punjab. (ANI)