Channi involved in illegal sand mining: Majithia; Punjab CM calls accusations 'baseless'
Senior Akali leader Bikram Singh Majithia on Saturday attacked Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi and the Congress, days after the recovery of a huge amount of cash from the premises of his nephew during ED raids.
Meanwhile, Channi called Majithia's allegations as ''baseless and frivolous'' and dared him to present even a single proof that indicates his involvement in sand mining across Punjab.
''I have never denied my relationship with my nephew Bhupinder Singh Honey and being a relative he might be present at some of my functions. It is not a crime if I get clicked with my relatives at my son's marriage or some other functions,'' the chief minister said while categorically denying any link in Honey's money laundering case investigated by the Enforcement Directorate.
Taking on the Congress for filing a complaint with the Election Commission of India against the recent ED raids, Majithia asked the ruling party that it should have rather questioned the recovery of crores of rupees from the premises of Channi's nephew.
''Instead of complaining to the ECI over the misuse of central agencies, the Congress should have explained how a huge sum of money was seized from the premises of Channi's nephew,'' Majithia told the media.
Majithia sought to show Honey's proximity to Channi through various purported photographs, and said the chief minister's nephew had even been provided security.
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader said that with the chief minister also holding charge of the mining and environment departments, this was a case of conflict of interest and ''Channi did not have any moral right to continue in office''.
The ED had said on Wednesday that it seized cash amounting to over Rs 10 crore, including about Rs 8 crore from a relative of Channi, during raids conducted in connection with an anti-money laundering investigation against illegal sand-mining operations in the poll-bound state.
Majithia also demanded a probe into the illegal sand mining in Channi's home constituency Chamkaur Sahib including that on forest land, alleging that the chief minister had looted the state exchequer.
''The total loot by Channi in his 111 days' tenure will be more than Rs 1,111 crore,'' alleged Majithia.
The senior Akali leader also released some purported audio recordings in order to show that the chief minister and his nephew were partners in the illegal sand mining business.
In a statement, Channi lashed out at Majithia for ''the slanderous and misleading'' campaign against him. The Congress leader said Majithia is ''dancing on the tunes'' of the BJP government and is trying to take revenge from him for booking him in the drugs case as earlier former chief minister Amarinder Singh, who is ''in cahoots'' with the SAD and the BJP, had ''covered up his sins''.
Channi said, ''Let me remind Majithia that he was investigated by the ED for his relations with drug peddlers and a drug kingpin named him for sheltering and facilitating smuggling of drugs. Majithia's photos were with them, does it mean he knew them and sheltering them?'' Calling the ED raids a ''political vendetta'' ahead of the Punjab Assembly polls, the chief minister said, ''The BJP is using central agencies to take revenge from me after PM Modi's fiasco and the opposition is now playing politics over the issue in Punjab.'' Reacting to audio recordings of Sarpanch Iqbal Singh and his son Binder naming the chief minister, Channi said if a person is taking his name being CM for personal gain, it doesn't mean that he is associated with them.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)