Punjab legislators on Tuesday condemned Enforcement Directorate raids on the premises of rebel Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA and former Leader of the Opposition of Punjab Assembly, Sukhpal Singh Khaira.
The ED raid on Khaira has come at a time when he had been very vocal in raising the issue of custodial torture of Sikh detainees post January 26 farmers’ protest in Delhi and demanding probe in the death of a protesting farmer, Navreet Singh, according to Indian Express.
“ED raids were not due to any violation of law, but were due to political intimidation,” Shiromani Akali Dal MLA Parminder Singh Dhindsa said during zero hour in the Punjab House.
“ED has become a tool to suppress voices. We may have different ideologies but we should take a stand against it and pass a resolution,” he said.
According to Congress politician and minister minister Charanjit Singh Channi, the raids are pressure tactics to muzzle voices which support farmers.
“This is a matter of pride of Punjabis. There should be a resolution against this,” he said.
Congress MLA Navjot Singh Sidhu also castigated the ED raids.
“Institutions like ED, CBI, RAW and the judiciary had been reduced to puppets in the BJP government at the Centre,” former Indian player said.
While condemning the raid, another MLA Kanwar Sandhu questioned the timing of ED raids. He also sought to know if the central agency kept the state government in the loop before conducting the raids.
According to the ED, raids were in connection with a money-laundering case linked to narcotics trafficking and the creation of an alleged fake passport.
The raids are being carried out in Chandigarh, some other locations in Haryana as well as in Punjab and Delhi.
“ED is being used to silence my voice”
Responding to the raids, Khaira said that the ED is being used to silence his voice because he supported farmers, raised their concerns, spoke against atrocities of government and attacks against peacefully protesting farmers.
“Farmers and their supporters were sent NIA notices, they have been jailed, tortured and now ED,” the Punjab lawmaker said in a series of tweets.
I have been troubled by ED mainly because I asked for justice into Navreet’s death. Navreet’s tractor turned turtle during 26th January parade and he died. Based on injuries and X-Ray reports, his family has claimed that he was shot down.
I support family’s demand of fair investigations,” Khaira said.
Khaira also claimed that anyone who stood by farmers, be it Diljit, Anurag Kashyap, Tapsee Pannu and many others, ED has been unleashed behind them to suppress the dissent.
“I fought against UAPA cases enacted against Punjabi youth and raised my voice against intimidation tacts of BJP government. ED team is doing their task and my house and office is open for any kind of investigations. Its a hoax that a duplicate passport has been found,” Khaira denied the allegations.