Soon after Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi held a press conference and the BJP-led central government of hatching a conspiracy to trap him in a case to discredit him, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal tweeted that Channi is not an aam aadmi (common man), but a dishonest one.
चन्नी आम आदमी नहीं, बेईमान आदमी है। https://t.co/OycA10oRar
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) January 19, 2022
Quoting a news report, Kejriwal took another jibe at the Punjab CM and said, “Channi sahib, Modi ji had got raids conducted on me, a sitting CM, and not on my chief minister. They got only ten mufflers from my house. They didn’t find so much cash and vehicles as they did in your house. You have done wonders in 111 days.”
चन्नी साहिब, मोदी जी ने छापे मेरे रिश्तेदारों पर नहीं, मुझ पर डाले थे, सिटिंग CM पर। उनको मेरे घर से केवल दस मफ़्लर मिले। आपकी तरह इतनी नक़दी और इतनी गाड़ियाँ नहीं मिलीं मेरे घर। आपने तो 111 दिनों में कमाल ही कर दिया। https://t.co/7raF3l4SOX
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) January 19, 2022
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 poll-bound state. Channi also hit out at the BJP for trying to take revenge on him over the return of Prime Minister Narendra Modi without attending a scheduled event and addressing a rally during his visit to Ferozepur earlier this month.
He dubbed the Enforcement Directorate (ED) raids at houses and offices belonging to his nephew into money laundering allegations linked to a 2018 illegal sand mining case as vendetta politics. He claimed that his nephew was not even booked in the 30-year-old case. A conspiracy has been hatched to trap me in this case, claimed Channi at a press conference here, 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 implicate him in the case. Punjab goes to the polls on February 20.
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. ED 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 claimed that his nephew was tortured to name the chief minister in the case but the ED sleuths could not link him to it. “If he (nephew) is wrong then hang him, but why attempt is being made to trap and implicate me,” he asked.
Interrogation (of his nephew) lasted 24 hours and every attempt was made to trap me. Throughout the night, the court was kept open that he (Channi) will be presented before the court after the arrest. When no proof was found against me, during the 24 hours interrogation, no FIR was lodged, the chief minister claimed. Channi further claimed that the investigating officials even reminded his nephew about PM Modi’s visit and also threatened to prevent the chief minister and other Congress leaders from contesting the elections.
It is a conspiracy of the Delhi government (Centre),” he alleged. Channi also sought to link the ED raids at the premises of nephew to Modi’s recent visit to Ferozepur during which he returned without addressing any event and a rally after the PM’s convoy got stuck for 15-20 minutes because of farmers’ protest.
What was my fault, if Modi had to return?…why revenge is being taken on me, he asked. Channi also hit out at Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal who targeted the former over the raids.
The AAP national convener had dubbed as political vendetta when the son of the brother-in-law of his was held in 2018 for the alleged irregularities in road and sewer development works department, he said. Channi further alleged that whenever elections are near, the BJP-led central government uses agencies like ED, Income Tax and others against political opponents to arm-twist them to win the polls.
He urged the Election Commission of India to put a stop to the alleged conspiracies of the central government for holding free and fair assembly polls in Punjab. Referring to the ED raids, he said. “It is a planted show.” “Phones were being tapped, but they did not find anything from my house or my brother’s family,” said Channi.
He said he always prayed for the good health of the prime minister. “I say even if they kill me, I am ready, if they have to register any case and put me behind bars, it does not make a difference. But we will not bow down,” Channi said. “Has anyone from the AAP joined the BJP in the run-up to Punjab polls?” he asked.
“While on the other hand, many of the Congress leaders were being arm-twisted to join the saffron party so that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) wins polls in the state, he alleged. This is Modi’s and BJP’s thinking,” Channi said.
“Kejriwal has an understanding with the BJP. No one is saying anything to AAP, the election field is open for them, but not for us. They are trying to put us under pressure,” he said.
He further alleged that former chief minister Amarinder Singh and Akali leader Bikram Singh Majithia had a role in this conspiracy, referring to the ED raids.
All of them are together in this to target one person (Channi), he added.
“Amarinder Singh denied the charge and his media advisor quoted him as saying, ED doesn’t report to me @CHARANJITCHANNI. Nor did I plant the money seized from your kin. So stop blaming me for your family’s crimes. As I always say, the law takes its own course, something that @INCIndia forgot when they accused me of shielding culprits’.”