July 4, 2021 10:13:48 pm
Congress leader and former Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, Sukhpal Singh Khaira, on Sunday hit out at SAD President Sukhbir Singh Badal and said that Badal himself was responsible for introducing different types of mafia —including the ‘sand mafia’ — in Punjab during the last 10 years of his party’s misrule.
Khaira said the word mafia was unknown and unheard in Punjab until the junior Badal (Sukhbir) took over the reins of Punjab as de-facto Chief Minister (Dy CM in 2009).
Khaira alleged that being a part of the mafia himself, Badal had introduced different cartels to control the trades of liquor, mining, transport, land, while alleging that the junior Badal’s wealth has grown manifolds in the last few years.
Khaira said today Sukhbir Badal was one of the richest politicians of the country besides being one of the richest Sikhs in the world. Khaira said that the known assets and wealth of the Badal clan ran into thousands of crores, if calculated at market value today, besides the alleged benami properties owned by them overseas.
“The Trident and Oberoi hotels at Gurgaon, Sukh Villas at New Chandigarh, 12 kanals (two plots) sector – 9 Chandigarh, 250 luxury AC buses, farm houses at Village Badal, Ranian & Rajasthan are his known properties,” Khaira said.
“Mega corruption, to the tune of thousands of crores, done by people like Gurinder alias Bhapa and Gurinder Pehalwan of GMADA, could not have been possible without the blessings of Sukhbir Badal,” said he.
Khaira reminded Sukhbir how he had forced old liquor companies, like Gheo Mal of Amritsar, out of business to replaced them with his cronies. Khaira said it is an open secret, how he created a cartel to control the liquor business in Punjab.
Similarly, Khaira said there was blatant and rampant illegal mining during the 10 years of Badal’s misrule. Khaira said the junior Badal, while in power, created a well-knit land mafia network that could purchase all plots — that were to be acquired by the state — at throwaway prices for various development works, like road construction, acquisition for Mohali airport, acquisition for the creation of new Chandigarh, sewerage projects, as he had access to all the master plans of the state.
Khaira said that therefore, the junior Badal, instead of raiding fake and bogus mining sites should first seek forgiveness at Akal Takhat for handing over Punjab to the mafia created by him.
Reacting to Khaira’s allegations, SAD spokesman and former Punjab minister Dr Daljit Singh Cheema, said, “Sukhpal Khaira is trying to divert the attention from the issue of illegal mining that Sukhbir Badal has exposed. Before levelling allegations against the SAD chief, Khaira must answer whether or not illegal mining was taking place in Punjab at the behest of CM and several ministers. If the SAD-BJP was involved with the mafia, then why was our involvement not proven in the past four and half years of the Congress’ rule in the state. More over, Khaira himself is involved in a drugs case and also has an Enforcement Directorate investigation going on against him,” said Cheema.
Cheema added that Khaira was an opportunist who ditched the AAP to join the Congress and now was defending corruption through illegal mining openly.
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