Arrest of Khaira by ED is a classic case of political witch hunt, intimidation-Son
Arrest of my father Sukhpal Singh Khaira by ED is a classic case of political witch hunt, intimidation, character assassination and a blatant attempt to prevent him from fighting the upcoming assembly elections.
Following the arrest of Sukhpal Khaira, his son Advocate Mehtab Singh Khaira released a press note, stating therein that the action of the ED (Directorate of Enforcement) is wholly illegal, unconstitutional and is done with an ulterior motive, especially now that the state assembly elections are around the corner.
At the very outset I, on behalf of my father, deny any wrongdoing or any sort of criminal activity which is being alleged by the central investigative agency. My father Sukhpal Singh Khaira has been a whistle blower and a crusader for the people of Punjab his entire life.
It must be emphasized here that Sukhpal Singh Khaira is being wrongly and maliciously implicated in a 6 year old NDPS case which was registered at P.S Sadar Jalalabad, District Fazilka. The said FIR registered under various sections of the NDPS Act named a total of 9 persons. Sukhpal Singh Khaira was not named in the FIR nor was he ever charge-sheeted in the said case. The trial against the main accused eventually culminated in the conviction of the main accused. The name or role of Sukhpal Singh Khaira did not appear in the trial that lasted close to two years.
However, when Sukhpal Singh Khaira was elected as Leader of Opposition (LoP) in the year 2017, he raked up amongst many others, the issue of a sand mining scam which eventually led to the resignation of a cabinet minister of the then ruling Government. This appeared to be a turning point in the present case as suddenly two prosecution witnesses, who had already been examined and cross examined were recalled under section 311 of Cr.P.C only with an intention to falsely implicate Sukhpal Singh Khaira. Why these two (police) witnesses, remained silent for a period of two years, during trial and even though they were examined and cross examined they never mentioned the role of Sukhpal Singh Khaira, remains a mystery to this day.
Once these witnesses appeared before the court on recall to tender their deposition they stated that close to two years ago one accused Gurdev Singh had named Sukhpal Singh Khaira at the time of interrogation but they had failed to disclose this fact giving no credible reason for their omission. This deposition was done at the very end of the trial. Soon thereafter the trial court convicted the main accused for a period of 20 years. After conviction, the trial court summoned Sukhpal Singh Khaira and others under section 319 of the Cr.P.C as additional accused.
The summoning order being illegal and beyond jurisdiction of the trial court was challenged before the High court of Punjab and Haryana and thereafter was challenged before the Supreme Court of India. The Apex Court at the very first hearing stayed the entire proceedings before the trial court giving huge relief to Sukhpal Singh Khaira. The case, since the year 2017 has remained stayed and a reference on important question of law is now pending before a constitution bench (5 Judge bench).
Mehtab Singh said they were still clueless on what grounds his father had been arrested? He said the ED has neither provided them with the copy of the so called ECIR registered against him nor have they provided us with a copy of grounds of arrest while detaining him on 11th November. He said this was gross violation of the rights of any accused particularly when he has been an elected representative besides being former Leader of Opposition.
Mehtab said he can only rebut the utterly false allegations levelled by the lawyer of ED in the courtroom yesterday while seeking remand of his father, as nothing has been provided in writing to them.
Mehtab said at the outset ED has alleged that Sukhpal Khaira was non cooperative and evasive during the 7- 8 months of investigation by them. Mehtab said his father appeared 11 times before the ED at Delhi and Chandigarh for approx. 7-8 hours during each hearing. He said his father even volunteered to appear even the next day of his date although he wasn’t officially summoned, for example his official summons were only for 10.11.21 but he himself volunteered to appear on 11.11.21 at Chandigarh the day he was arrested. He said he had spent almost 100 hours with ED during these hearings. He said ED was provided with all their details be it bank accounts, agriculture land details, assets, election affidavits, immovable assets etc.
Mehtab said the allegations of ED that there was a gap of Rs. 3.40 crore in the income and expenditure of his family during the last seven years i.e. 2014-2021 is laughable and preposterous. He said ED has failed to take into account their agricultural income which is approx. 25 lacs annually which exposes their lies besides the fact that his father raised three bank loan limits by pledging his land and Chandigarh home to raise Rs. 3 crore for the purpose of marriage of his children i.e. his daughter in 2016 and his son in 2019.
Mehtab said the ED made another baseless and false allegations against him for collecting 1.19 lac USD during his visit to USA in April-May 2016. Mehtab clarified that the tour undertaken by his father in 2016 was organised and sponsored by AAP for the purpose of fundraising for the assembly elections in 2017. He said the USA AAP team had organised approx. 16 meetings in different cities of USA in 2016 and had shared party posters about this tour on their official AAP USA verified page bearing the photo of Arvind Kejriwal and party symbol. He said almost all the activities of this fundraiser are even available on the USA AAP facebook page even today (copies attached). Apart from this he said one Mr. Shree Kanth USA AAP office bearer even emailed to his colleagues in USA to promote this tour (email attached). He said the USA AAP teams collected all the funds in these meetings and his father had nothing to do with the funds. He said the ED had seized no foreign currency from his father and is it possible to carry 1.19 lac USD and travel back to India asked Mehtab?
Mehtab said his father tried to provide all these details to ED on 11.11.21 when confronted with the statement of AAP Secretary Pankaj Gupta who had denied any official fundraising by AAP but the ED never took this on record, after which his father emailed all the factual details including posters and emails to the IO at ED Mr.Meena.
Mehtab said it is an open secret that there is extreme bad blood between the AAP and his father, who was removed through Twitter by Arvind Kejriwal and then suspended from party. But ED has relied on the statement of their adversaries to frame him.
Last but not the least as mentioned earlier Mehtab said his father is neither named in the Fazilka NDPS case nor in the challan neither anything recovered from him and it is also pertinent to mention that the Supreme Court of India has stayed proceedings in the said NDPS case, yet the ED is hell bent to investigate his father by making it a scheduled offence against him.