Charanjit Channi’s Nephew premises got raided by ED

The probe agency carried out searches at Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi’s nephew Bhupinder Honey in Mohali.

On Tuesday, the Enforcement Directorate conducted raids at multiple locations in Punjab as part of a money-laundering probe against illegal sand mining companies, merely a month before the Assembly polls in the state.

The federal agency’s officials conducted raids at 10-12 locations in the state and took action under PMLA, Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

The raids come ahead of the Assembly elections in the state, which are scheduled to be held on February 20. The spin-offs will be out on March 10.

The Congress and other opposition parties have repeatedly accused the BJP-led Centre of misusing central probe agencies like ED and CBI to intimidate and suppress the voice of its opponents.

Responding to the ED raid, Channi said it was an attempt to target him and put pressure on him given the upcoming Assembly polls.

“Raid is being conducted (which was on the premises of his relative). They are targetting me and putting pressure on me because of upcoming Assembly polls. This is not good for democracy. We are ready to fight this. The identical thing happened during West Bengal elections,” the Chief Minister Channi said.

Last month, former chief minister Amarinder Singh had alleged that all Congress MLAs in the state were immersed in the illegal trade of sand.

Singh, who quit the Congress party after stepping down as CM of the state in September last year, had said that he had informed Congress president Sonia Gandhi about legislators involved in the trade.

Illegal sand mining included being one of the Punjab campaign’s talking points. The ruling Congress has been accused by its former Chief Minister, Amarinder Singh, of links to the trade. “If I start telling names, I will have to start from the top,” he had said last month.

Mr. Singh also told reporters that he had informed Congress president Sonia Gandhi about MLAs involved.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which has emerged as a solid challenge to the Congress in Punjab, has also targeted Chief Minister Channi over allegations of illegal sand mining in his constituency. As a result, Mr. Channi’s nephew Bhupinder Singh Honey’s home and ten other places in Punjab were searched early this morning.

Officials said that the Enforcement Directorate has whetted a money laundering case and is investigating several people with political links.

The raids come in the middle of intense campaigning in Punjab, which will vote on February 20. The outcomes will be announced on March 10.

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