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Drug trade rampant in Punjab, political blame game continues

Drug trade rampant in Punjab, political blame game continues

In 2013, more than 300 kg of heroin valued at Rs 1500 crore was seized in Punjab.

Chandigarh: Drug addiction has been a huge concern for the state of Punjab. In 2013, more than 300 kg of heroin valued at Rs 1500 crore was seized in Punjab. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Allegations have been leveled of the involvement of political leaders in the drug trade. Speaking in Ludhiana, Bharatiya Janata Party's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on Tuesday blamed the Centre for the situation in the state.

"Borders are manned by the Centre. The Centre should ensure drugs don't come into the state. They should make the soldiers manning the borders accountable," said Modi.

Ironically Modi was sharing the dais with Punjab Revenue Minister Bikram Majithia, who has been accused of being involved in the drug trade by former policeman Jagdish Bhola. Bhola was arrested last year following the crackdown on a drug deal involving boxer Vijender Singh.

"We are not stopping any agency from doing its investigation, whether it is CBI or Enforcement Directorate. Name coming in newspapers is a different thing and investigation is a different thing. I cannot speak about a clean chit to anyone; law will take its own course," Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badel said while defending Majithia.

Bhola in his statement to the enforcement directorate had also accused Daman Phillaur, son of Jail Minister Sarwan Singh Phillaur in the case. The Jail Minister's son has been summoned by the enforcement directorate however he has gone abroad.

"No summoning from ED. Anyone's name can come in a newspaper. That does not mean he is a suspect or is true. We haven't received any summon. No court has banned him from travelling anywhere," said the Jail Minister.

Punjab's former DGP (Prisons) Shashi Kant, who has been crusading against drug trade, says both the congress and the SAD-BJP leaders are involved in the drug trade and use it to finance election expenses. He recently quit the Aam Aadmi Party saying that the party didn't take the issue seriously.

With billions of rupees at stake in the drug trade in Punjab, it has turned into a major issue for all political parties. With allegations flying thick and fast between parties, perhaps it's a matter of time before a few big names find themselves in the dock.

first published:February 26, 2014, 11:06 IST