Hours after the Punjab and Haryana High Court granted bail to Congress MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira in connection with a 2015 drugs case, he was re-arrested for criminal intimidation, reported The Indian Express.

Khaira was first arrested on September 28 under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act after a raid at his bungalow in Chandigarh on a complaint filed by a man named Kashmir Singh, who is a co-accused in the case.

The case, which was registered in March 2015, involved the recovery of two kgs of heroin, 24 gold biscuits, one country-made pistol, a .315-bore pistol and two Pakistani SIM cards.

On Thursday, the High Court granted bail to the Congress leader after recording that he was not guilty of the allegations relating to the smuggling of drugs, reported Bar and Bench.

“The possibility of the accused influencing the investigation, tampering with evidence, intimidating witnesses and the likelihood of fleeing justice can be taken care of by imposing elaborative and stringent conditions,” said Justice Anoop Chitkara.

However, soon after the bail, Khaira was booked under Indian Penal Code Sections 195A (threatening any person to give false evidence) and 506 (criminal intimidation) on a complaint filed by Singh’s wife Ranjit Kaur.

Kaur said in her complaint that five persons had come to her house with their faces covered and threatened her with dire consequences if she gave statements against Khaira.

The Congress leader’s son Mehtab Khaira alleged that the new case was part of a conspiracy. “If Khaira was still in jail, how could he threaten anyone or intimidate anyone?” he said.

Mehtab Khaira said that they would seek justice through legal recourse.

The Congress unit in Punjab also described Sukhpal Singh Khaira’s arrest as proof of “vendetta politics”.

“The FIR has been registered just to harass him even further,” Amrinder Singh Raja Warring, the party’s state unit president, said in a social media post. “This is not badlaav [change], this is badla [revenge].”

In September, the Congress had alleged that Khaira was arrested by the Aam Aadmi Party government in Punjab in an attempt to marginalise the Mallikarjun Kharge-led party.

Meanwhile, the Aam Aadmi Party said the law would take its own course and not spare anyone.

“As far as the alliance between both the parties is concerned, if Congress leaders have any issue, they should go and tell their national leadership,” said Aam Aadmi Party’s Punjab unit chief spokesperson Malvinder Singh Kang. “If they want to contest elections alone, they should know that AAP is also ready to contest not only 13 Lok Sabha seats in Punjab, but also the Chandigarh seat, all alone.”

Both Congress and AAP are part of the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance, a coalition of 28 Opposition parties that plan to take on the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.