Lashing out at his Delhi counterpart and Aam Aadmi Party’s national convener Arvind Kejriwal for dubbing him as a “dishonest man” after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) conducted raids at several places, including Channi's nephew Bhupinder Singh Honey, Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi on Friday declared that he would be filing a defamation case against AAP leader for his remarks. Claiming that it was Kejriwal’s habit to level accusations against others to malign their image, Channi said that in the past, AAP supremo had to even apologise to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders Nitin Gadkari, late Arun Jaitley, and even SAD leader Bikram Singh Majithia.
“I will file a defamation case against Kejriwal and have requested my party to give permission to do so. I am compelled to do this…He is dubbing me as dishonest and he has put that on his Twitter handle,” said Channi, adding that Kejriwal has crossed all limits. Kejriwal, a day before, took to Twitter to target Channi's “common man” image, saying that Punjab Chief Minister was not an “aam aadmi” but “baiman aadmi” (dishonest man).
Intensifying his attack against Channi on Friday, Kejriwal cited party’s survey to claim that Channi will be defeated from his own seat — Chamkaur Sahib constituency — in the ensuing elections. “People are in shock on seeing ED officers counting big wads of notes on TV,” added Kejriwal. Retorting, Channi said that Kejriwal is “tampering” his image by showing “bundles of notes (seized during ED raids)” with his photo over social media though the raids were conducted on and money was seized from “someone else”.
“Why photos of bundles of notes with my photos on social media accounts. Which money came to me, what is my fault in this?. Why are you dragging me into this?…Had money been seized from me, ED would have conducted raids at my house, arrested me, questioned me,” asked Channi.
“I can only be held responsible if money was seized from my house or from my sons or wife,” he said while declaring that he would not contest the election “if I am found guilty or money is seized from my house”. Notably, ED on Wednesday carried out raids in as many as 10 locations in Punjab, including Channi’s nephew and six mining contractors, among others, in the illegal sand mining case. The central agency also recovered Rs 10 crore from Bhupinder and his partner Sandeep Kumar along with gold worth Rs 21 lakh during the raids. Currently, the ED is investigating the source of the unaccounted case seized from Channi's nephew and Sandeep.
The federal agency is reportedly investigating the case based on a first information report registered in 2018 by the Punjab Police against one Kudrat Deep Singh, who owns a quarry in Nawanshahr town of Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar district. Honey is reportedly a director at one of the companies formed by Singh.
Channi, however, has accused the BJP-led Centre of trying to frame him in order to avenge Prime Minister Narendra Modi's security breach fiasco in Ferozepur earlier this month. Punjab Chief Minister said that Bhupinder was tortured by the central agency and even lured to name him in the case as part of a larger conspiracy to attack the Congress and spoil the party's chances in the forthcoming Punjab elections.