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Punjab CM Channi’s image takes a battering as nephew’s link surfaces in mining scam

Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi.

Punjab Chief Minister’s Charanjit Singh Channi’s image took a battering on Tuesday as his nephew’s name has surfaced in a money laundering case linked to the mining scandal in the state.

The Enforcement Directorate on Tuesday morning raided the house  of Bhupinder Singh alias Honey, a nephew of Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi, in a case related to illegal mining and money laundering.

The raid on the house in Mohali, on the outskirts of Chandigarh, was carried out after the ED took over an FIR registered in 2018 at the Rahon police station in Mohali district. Initially one Kudratjit Singh was named in the FIR but the investigation led to the information that Honey was allegedly the mastermind.

Raids have been conducted in 10 places located in Punjab and Haryana. As per latest reports an ED team has reached the house of the CM in Kharar near Chandigarh and is questioning his other relatives. It is not clear whether Honey has been formally arrested though he is accompanying the raiding team.

The raids come in the middle of an intense election campaign in Punjab which goes to polls on February 20. The results will be declared on March 10.

Read also: Congress plunges into deep turmoil ahead of Punjab polls as Sidhu and Channi are at loggerheads over CM’s post

Illegal mining has been a major issue of concern in Punjab. The Aam Aadmi Party had gone on record alleging involvement of Channi in the illegal sand mining in Ropar district. The ousted Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, too, has been saying that several sitting Congress MLAs and ministers are involved in this illegal activity.

Earlier Congress minister Rana Gurjit Singh was forced to quit Captain Amaraninder Singh’s as he was involved in a sand mining scandal by fraudulently getting contracts in the name of his servants. He has since been given a berth again in Channi’s cabinet and is contesting election from Kapurthala.

The Akali Dal government led by Parkash Singh had also faced serious allegations of illegal sand mining and creating a cartel of contractors following which it was routed in 2017 elections.