Patiala (Punjab): As the AAP and Congress, members of the INDIA bloc, are at loggerheads in Punjab over the arrest of MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira in a drug case, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday said that his party is not against any leader but the 'drug menace' and urged "all parties" to join them in the campaign.
The Aam Aadmi Party national convenor was speaking at an event, organised to launch health-related projects worth Rs 550 crore in Punjab's Patiala.
During his address, Kejriwal said that after the Punjab Police arrested the Congress MLA in connection with a 2015 drug case, all these parties abused the state Chief Minister and his fellow party leader Bhagwant Mann.
Without taking any name, the Delhi Chief Minister said, "Just three days ago, a very big man was arrested who is accused of drug smuggling. All these party people are abusing Bhagwant Mann why did you do this?... I want to say to all these party people that our fight is with not any other party or leaders. We are not against any leader. We are against the drug menace. Drug menace has spoiled our youth..."
"I appeal to all the parties that if any leader of your party is doing any kind of drug menace then throw him out of the party," he added.
Punjab Police arrested Khaira from his Chandigarh residence on Thursday morning in connection with an eight-year-old case registered under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act. The Congress leader was sent to 14-day judicial custody on Saturday.
While the Congress is calling it vindictive politics of AAP, the ruling party is terming the development as part of their "zero-tolerance policy" against drugs.
Earlier in 2015, there were two cases originated with the unearthing of a cross-border drug smuggling network in Fazilka, Punjab, leading to the seizure of heroin, gold biscuits, weapons, cartridges, and Pakistani SIM cards and the second of a fake passport racket being run in Delhi.
As the trial went on, nine smugglers, including Gurdev Singh, Manjit Singh, Harbans Singh, and Subhash Chander, were sentenced in October 2017 in connection with the Fazilka case.
As per the chargesheet, Khaira was closely associated with Gurdev Singh, the leader of the Fazilka drug smuggling racket, and is accused of having sheltered him.
The primary accusations against Khaira include supporting an international gang of smugglers, having sheltered him and receiving financial benefits from drug traffickers, and enjoying the proceeds of crime.
On February 16, 2023, a Supreme Court bench of Justices BR Gavai and Vikram Nath quashed the summoning order against Khaira in the drugs case.