Punjab Assembly passes resolution to condemn ED raid on Khaira

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Chandigarh, Mar 10 (PTI) The Punjab Assembly on Wednesday passed a resolution condemning the ED raid on rebel AAP member Sukhpal Singh Khaira.

The resolution was brought by Parliamentary Affairs minister Brahm Mohindra in the Budget session here.

Mohindra said the resolution was brought with the permission of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.

'This house expresses concern on the current role of the central agencies such as CBI, ED which have been set up to ensure transparency in public life.

'Unfortunately, there have been apparent instances wherein these agencies have been used to harass innocent people including farmers, artists and politically elected representatives and even some government officials,' said Mohindra.

Mohindra said the House referred to Khaira’s absence from the Punjab assembly due to “an unwarranted and unconstitutional interference by the ED” and condemned this interference unanimously.

“This House strongly condemns such unwarranted and unconstitutional interference by the central agency and urges upon the government of India to refrain from infringing upon the rights of the elected representatives of the people by subverting the due process of law,' he said.

Assembly Speaker Rana K P Singh announced the resolution was passed unanimously. The two BJP MLAs were not in the House at the time of the voting on the resolution.

Earlier, several members of the Punjab assembly on Wednesday condemned the ED raid on rebel AAP legislator Sukhpal Singh Khaira.

Khaira who was present in the House in the budget session on Wednesday termed the raid conducted by the Enforcement Directorate as a 'well-planned vilification and character assassination campaign' against him by the Centre and also denied doing anything wrong.

The ED had raided the premises of rebel AAP MLA from Punjab Sukhpal Singh Khaira, his family members in Delhi and some jailed convicts on Tuesday in a money-laundering case linked to the 2015 Fazilka narcotics trafficking case and a fake passport racket.

Raising the issue of the ED raid during the Zero Hour, rebel AAP legislator Kanwar Sandhu sought a resolution in the House over the matter.

He further said the House could also express 'displeasure' over the ED action against Khaira.

Sandhu said what has happened with Khaira could also occur with any other member.

Congress legislator and former minister Navjot Singh Sidhu backed Sandhu and also hit out at the Centre over this issue.

'Are we allowed to question the Centre or not? Are we a free society? Are we a fear society?' asked Sidhu while condemning the ED raid.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Brham Mohindra also described the ED action against Khaira as 'unfortunate, highly deplorable and highly condemnable'.

Speaker Rana K P Singh said Khaira was 'restrained' from attending the ongoing budget session which was 'wrong”.

Khaira while denying any wrongdoing informed the House that the officials of the ED had taken some diaries.

He further said he will continue to raise his voice even if the BJP tried to 'intimidate and gag' him with such raids. PTI CHS VSD RAX RAX