SAD leader Bikram Majithia and other party MLAs protesting against power tariff hike outside Vidhan Sabha. (Express photo by Kamleshwar Singh)
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh Thursday assured some legislators in the Vidhan Sabha of getting a probe done into their allegations that former Subordinate Services Selection Board member Anwar Masih, arrested in connection with the recovery of 194 kg of heroin from his house near Amritsar, had links with senior Akali leader Bikram Singh Majithia.
Amarinder made the statement after Congress MLA Kulbir Singh Zira and AAP legislator and Leader of Opposition Harpal Singh Cheema raked up the issue of the recent seizure of the drug, alleging that Masih had “relations” with Majithia and demanded a probe into the “political nexus” in the drug haul case.
When CM made the announcement, Shiromani Akali members, including Majithia, were protesting in the well of the House over rejection of adjournment motion moved by the party on “power scam” in the state.
Zira while thanking CM and STF for recovery of heroin worth “Rs 1000 crore” in the case said, “Masih has relations with Majithia and I demand there should be an inquiry into it. He was made the Subordinate Services Board member and he is a right-hand man of Majithia. This should be inquired into and appropriate action should be taken. I want to ask CM Sahib if this matter would be inquired into or not,” Zira said, adding that a probe inquiry was needed to send “persons like Majithia behind bars on whose recommendations such persons were appointed as SSS Board members”.
Zira reiterated, “CM should tell if he is marking an inquiry or not.”
Cheema also said, “Will CM tell the House that STF will probe Majithia and what was the political nexus where a huge consignment of drug was seized.”
As Cheema was still speaking, Speaker Rana KP Singh said that CM wanted to make a statement.
Responding to the MLAs’ claims, the CM said, “We will definitely get it inquired and send it to the appropriate authority for the investigation.”
Majithia hit back saying that Masih, a leader of Christian Dalit Front, and the Front’s president had “close connections” with the Congress, which were “matter of record”.
Calling Masih a “Congressman”, Majithia in a written statement welcomed “the inquiry into the political connections of Christian Dalit Front leader and Congressman Masih” and requested CM to “take into account detailed evidence of the involvement of Congress leaders in the Amritsar heroin seizure case as well as drug trafficking in the state”.
“The close connection of Masih as well as the Christian Dalit Front with the Congress and the support extended to the party by Masih and Front president Munawar Masih in the 2017 Assembly elections, 2018 Gurdaspur Lok Sabha by-election contested by Pradesh Congress president Sunil Jakhar as well as the 2019 parliamentary elections are a matter of record,” said Majithia.
“It is a fact that Munawar Masih was the only person whose term as Minorities Commission chairman was extended by three years by the Congress government. This as well as other pictures of Munawar and Anwar Masih with Minister Sukhjinder Randhawa in 2019 and advertisements alongside senior Congress leaders prove that both of them are essentially Congressmen. It seems the Congress party did not do its homework while trying to link Anwar Masih with the SAD by showing old pictures of a social event. All allegations against Anwar Masih have surfaced only when he joined the Congress party,” stated Majithia, who earlier in the day showed purported photos of Anwar and Munawar with Congress leaders.
Demanding a detailed inquiry into the political connections of those associated with the Amritsar heroin seizure case, Majithia said the “kingpin in the case, Simarjit Singh Sandhu, was the son of Sarabjit Singh Sandhu who was appointed Member of the Subordinate Services Selection Board in 2006 during Congress government tenure”.
“Simarjit Sandhu’s association with the Congress party should be investigated and all Congressmen associated with him should be exposed and booked,” said Majithia.
Majithia said it was “also a fact that the police had first raided the house and hotel of Congress councilor Pradeep Sharma even before it unearthed the heroin manufacturing factory in Amritsar”. Majithia said “Sharma was let off as he had been photographed with the Amritsar MP, Speaker and even at the CM residence and his arrest would have caused an embarrassment to the Congress party. It is clear that the Sharma family, including Sharma’s son Sahil who has been arrested were involved in drug trafficking.”
The anti-drug Special Task Force on Wednesday had arrested former SSB member and Akali leader, Anwar Masih in a case of seizure of 194 kg of heroin after he failed to provide evidence of renting out the premises in village Sultanwind in the border region of Amritsar, from where a massive drug haul was made last month.
The narcotics were seized from Masih’s house in Sultanwind village in Amritsar district on January 31.
On January 31, the STF had seized heroin and other contraband from a rented house in Akash Avenue in Sultanwind village of Amritsar district after the arrest of six persons, including an Afghanistan national and a woman.