Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi said that the Enforcement Directorate’s raids on his nephew Bhupinder Singh Honey were an instance of “political vendetta”, The Tribune reported on Tuesday.
“The name of my nephew has been added now to settle a score for whatever happened in Ferozepur during PM’s visit,” Channi said.
The chief minister was referring to the alleged breach in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s security while he was visiting Punjab on January 5. A massive controversy had erupted after Modi’s convoy was stuck on a flyover for over 15 minutes as protestors had blocked the road to Hussainiwala village in the state.
“They are taking revenge because I stood with Punjab and people of Punjab during the Prime Minister’s visit to Ferozepur,” the chief minister said, according to the Hindustan Times. “They are harassing our people and want to spoil our election.”
The Punjab Assembly election will be held on February 20, and the results will be announced on March 10.
The Enforcement Directorate raided Honey’s home in connection with an alleged money laundering case based on a first information report registered in 2018 by the Punjab Police against a person called Kudrat Deep Singh.
Singh owns a quarry in Punjab’s Nawanshahr town. Honey is reportedly a director at one of the companies formed by Singh.
Channi said that many Congress members and ministers were under pressure and that the raids were a conspiracy to suppress the party. He questioned the timing of the central agency’s raids.
On Tuesday, several other Congress leaders had also condemned the raids. The National President of the Indian Youth Congress Srinivas BV said on Twitter that the raids marked the beginning of BJP’s election campaign in Punjab.
Another party leader, Alka Lamba, alleged that the Central Bureau of Investigation, Enforcement Directorate and Income Tax department become Bharatiya Janata Party’s tools during elections.
The raids took place a day after the Congress posted a video from its official Twitter handle indicating that Channi is the party’s chief ministerial candidate for the upcoming Assembly elections.