The Punjab Police on Thursday arrested Congress MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira in connection with a 2015 drugs case, his son said in a post on Facebook.
Khaira was arrested from his home in Chandigarh around 6.30 am by a team led by Superintendent of Police Manjeet Singh, according to PTI.
The MLA, who went live on Facebook, questioned the police action and alleged that he was being arrested to settle political scores. He said he was being arrested in a false case and that “jungle raj” was prevailing in the state, according to PTI.
Khaira was also seen arguing with the police and demanding an arrest warrant. He was told by a police official that he was being arrested under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act and that he would be taken to Jalalabad in Fazilka. He claimed that the case was quashed by the Supreme Court.
Later in the day, the former leader of Opposition in Punjab alleged that the ruling Aam Aadmi Party arrested him in an attempt to marginalise the Congress in the state, ANI reported.
“[Chief Minister] Bhagwant Mann has become thirsty for blood,” he said. “I will not be surprised if he gets me physically eliminated also. I sense something very very dangerous...Bhagwant Mann is not able to tolerate Congress in Punjab.”
Opposition parties in Punjab questioned Khera’s arrest and accused the ruling Aam Aadmi Party government of political vendetta.
Congress state unit chief Amarinder Singh Raja Warring pointed out that action was taken against the MLA in an eight-year-old case.
“It is an attempt to intimidate the opposition and is a ploy of the AAP government in Punjab to distract [people] from core issues,” Warring wrote on X, previously known as Twitter. “We stand strongly with Sukhpal Khaira and will take this fight to its logical conclusion.”
Bharatiya Janata Party leader Tarun Chugh also said that the action against Khaira was vindictive.
“The AAP government in Punjab, which came to power in the name of change, is misusing power and doing vindictive politics,” he told PTI.
The Aam Aadmi Party, however, refuted the charges and pointed out that the case against Khera was lodged during the tenure of the Shiromani Akali Dali.
“The case against Sukhpal Singh Khaira was lodged in Akali Dal rule and he was arrested during the Congress reign,” AAP MP Sushil Kumar Gupta said. “He then joined Congress and got political patronage. Earlier, authorities under government pressure couldn’t take any concrete action, now they are free and the law is taking its own course.”