March 10, 2021 2:19:36 am
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday raided the premises of former Leader of Opposition in Punjab Assembly Sukhpal Singh Khaira in connection with cases of drug smuggling and fake passport racket.
The agency is probing the Bholath MLA, once a member of AAP but now leading the Punjab Ekta Party, for alleged money laundering in connection with the 2015 Fazilka drug smuggling case.
On Tuesday, the ED conducted raids at 12 locations in Punjab, Chandigarh and Delhi, of which searches were conducted at nine locations in Punjab, one location in Chandigarh and two in Delhi. Among those raided were the accused convicted in the Fazilka case and Khaira’s son-in-law Inderveer Singh Johal.
Besides the Fazilka case, raids were also conducted in connection with a case of fake passport racket for which Delhi Police recently registered an FIR.
The Fazilka case pertains to arrest of nine people in 2015 by Punjab Police for allegedly being part of a gang that smuggled drugs across the India-Pakistan border. The police had claimed to have seized 1,800 gms heroin, 24 gold biscuits, two weapons, 26 live cartridges and two Pakistani SIM cards from the accused.
“The drugs were smuggled through the Indo-Pak border and one of the kingpins of the syndicate is in the UK. Sukhpal Khaira was actively aiding and supporting the gang of international smugglers and enjoying the proceeds of crime,” a senior ED official alleged.
Khaira’s name had come up during Punjab Police’s probe, and a Fazilka court had summoned him in November 2017 after convicting nine people in the case. Khaira has availed of relief from Supreme Court in the case against the lower court’s summons.
ED sources said Khaira was allegedly in touch with the kingpin of the smuggling racket said to be based in the UK. “He has also been in touch with some accused in the fake passport racket where Delhi Police arrested an individual in January,” another ED official said.
The premises of the accused convicted in the Fazilka case raided by ED include Kapurthala residences of Gurdev Singh and Manjit Singh; and Jalalabad residences of Harbans Singh and Subhash Chander.
Khaira’s house in Chandigarh and his son-in-law’s house in Delhi were searched.
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