Majithia alleges Channi involved in illegal sand mining in home constituency

CHANDIGARH, Jan 22: 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.

He also accused him of being involved in illegal sand mining in his constituency Chamkaur Sahib in Rupnagar district and demanded a CBI probe into it.

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.

He questioned why the Congress party came out in defence of Bhupinder Singh Honey, the chief minister’s nephew who was allegedly running the illegal mining racket.

Meanwhile, All India Congress Committee (AICC) media incharge for Punjab elections Alka Lamba trashed Majithia’s allegations as “baseless”.

Majithia sought to show Honey’s proximity to Channi through various purported photographs, and said Honey 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 Enforcement Directorate on Wednesday had said 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.

The Congress on Thursday had complained to the ECI, seeking stern action against Enforcement Directorate officials for carrying out “illegal and malafide” raids to defame Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi and the incumbent state government.

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.

He alleged that Salapur village Sarpanch Iqbal Singh and his son Binder were carrying out illegal sand mining business at the instance of Channi.

The audio recordings were done by one Darshan Singh who had befriended members of the sand mafia to expose them, Majithia claimed.

Channi had rejected the allegations against him and accused the BJP-led central government of hatching a “conspiracy” to “trap” him in the case in which raids were conducted by the ED at many places in the poll-bound state.

He further alleged that former chief minister Amarinder Singh and Majithia had a role in “this conspiracy”. (PTI)