Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi said that the Enforcement Directorate’s raids on his nephew Bhupinder Singh Honey were an instance of “political vendetta” and part of “larger conspiracy.”
The CM said the new ED episode was the fallout of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the state and the alleged security breach.
“They are taking revenge because I stood with Punjab and people of Punjab during the Prime Minister’s visit to Ferozepur,” Channi said.
“If the chairs were empty, (at the venue where Modi was due to come) what is my fault? Why is there a vendetta against me? Had I fired at the protesting farmers then it would have been fine. But I didn’t do it. Now, I am paying up,” he said.
“What I have heard is that they wanted to arrest me last night. The courts were kept open till 6 am (because) I will be arrested. My nephew was tortured to bring my name into the case. But when it did not happen then they asked the court to close. I have not met my nephew. We do not even know where he is now. I have been told that those who interrogated him told him that they would not allow us to contest elections,” Channi told reporters.
He went on to say: “This is oppression. We are being forcibly dragged into the case. I hope the people of Punjab will stand with me as I have stood by them during the visit of the prime minister. I have been a minister and MLA but there is no taint on me. But they want to forcibly put a blot on me. I have been told that I will not be allowed to file nomination and contest elections.”
“Our ministers are also getting threats. I want to appeal to the Election Commission that if they want a fair election then the Centre’s excesses should be stopped. When my nephew’s name is not there in the FIR then why has he been dragged? The other accused Kudratdeep Singh’s name has been deleted from the FIR as the mine allotted to him did not operate,” he added.
The raids took place a day after the Congress posted a video from its official Twitter handle indicating that Channi is the party’s chief ministerial candidate for the upcoming Assembly elections.
“Honey became a partner in Kudratdeep Singh’s firm later. The FIR was registered earlier,” Channi said.
The Punjab Assembly election will be held on February 20, and the results will be announced on March 10.
“I am ready to be killed. I am not scared of a case. I eat the same food outside and I will eat that kind of food in jail also,” he said.