Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi on Wednesday accused the BJP-led central government of hatching a conspiracy to trap him in the case in which raids were conducted by the Enforcement Directorate at many places in the state. He alleged that whenever elections are to take place, the BJP government at the Centre uses agencies like the Enforcement Directorate (ED), Income Tax and others against political opponents to target and arm-twist them.
A conspiracy has been hatched to trap me in this case, claimed Channi, referring to the ED raids conducted at the residence of his nephew on Tuesday. He alleged that attempts were being made by the federal probe agency sleuths to trap him in the case.
Channi, accompanied by some ministers including Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, was addressing a press conference. ED sources said on Wednesday about Rs 10 crore cash has been seized during the raids conducted in an anti-money laundering investigation against illegal sand mining operations in Punjab that included about Rs 8 crore from the premises linked to Bhupinder Singh alias Honey, a nephew of Channi.
Another about Rs 2 crore has been seized from the premises linked to a person identified as Sandeep Kumar, they said. Reacting to the ED raid at his nephew's premises, Channi claimed that he was not even named in a 2018 FIR of the Nawanshahr (Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar district) Police.
However, officials said the action has been initiated after taking cognisance of the 2018 FIR of the Nawanshahr Police and some other such police complaints against some companies and individuals alleged to be involved in the business of illegal sand mining in the state. Channi also sought to link the ED raids at the premises of his nephew to the recent scheduled Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Ferozepur, during which the PM returned without addressing a rally after his convoy got stuck for 15-20 minutes due to farmers' protest.
What was my fault, if Modi had to return?…why revenge is being taken on me, the chief minister asked, referring to the ED raids. Punjab is scheduled to go to the polls on February 20.