MLA Bains: Tape ‘proves anti-Khaira plot’
Chandigarh: Legislator Simarjit Singh Bains of the Lok Insaaf Party, an AAP ally, today released an audio-tape to “prove a plot” against Punjab’s Leader of Opposition (LoP) and AAP MLA Sukhpal Khaira, who has been summoned by a Fazilka court for questioning on his alleged links with drug smugglers. Bains and his brother Balwinder Singh released a 17-minute recording in which former Deputy Advocate General Amit Chaudhary puportedly tells former PCS officer TK Goel that Rs 35 lakh had been paid to a judge to ensure that Khaira’s review petition in the High Court, that the charges against him be quashed, was dismissed. Chaudhary, claiming he had received the ‘text’ of the court order a day before it was pronounced, is heard saying it had been pre-decided that non-bailable warrants against Khaira would be cancelled but his review petition in the High Court dismissed. Chaudhary, who was DAG during the SAD-BJP tenure, told The Tribune that the audio-tape had been “manipulated”. He said he had met Goel, one of his clients, a number of times “but no such conversation took place”. Goel, a former PCS officer, was recently dismissed from service on corruption charges. He could not be contacted. Bains said he would submit a video-recording of the Chaudhary-Goel meeting and “reveal the date, time, place of the conversation” either to the CBI or the High Court. Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh refused to be drawn into the controversy. Asked if he would order a CBI inquiry as sought, he replied: “Let courts decide the matter.” Later in the day, Bains and Khaira submitted a memorandum to Governor VP Singh Badnore to press for the demand. Urging the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court to take suo motu action, Khaira said it was his suspicion that SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal, Congress minister Rana Gurjit Singh and SAD leader Bikram Singh Majithia had connived against him.An FIR was registered under the NDPS Act against Khaira’s aide Gurdev Singh and eight others on March 5, 2015, in Jalalabad, alleging links with drug smugglers in Pakistan. It was alleged that Khaira and the smugglers had been in touch on the phone. But Khaira was not questioned by the police. On October 31 this year, a Fazilka court sentenced the nine to 20 years’ jail. Acting on a public prosecutor’s application, describing Khaira and staff as the “kingpins of an international drug racket”, the court summoned Khaira, personal security officer Joga Singh, PA Manish and two more — Charanjit Kaur and Major Singh Bajwa and issued non-bailable warrants. Khaira then moved the HC, which dismissed his petition while cancelling the warrants.