Aam Aadmi Party MLA and the Leader of Opposition in the Punjab Assembly Sukhpal Singh Khaira today accused state minister Charanjit Singh Channi of being involved in illegal mining, a charge vehemently denied by the minister.
"I have the information that state cabinet minister Charanjit Singh Channi and some of his family members were involved in illegal mining in Nawanshahr, Khaira alleged here.
He claimed there were some influential persons behind the illegal sand mining and demanded their names be made public.
The AAP leader was referring to the recent crackdown against illegal mining launched by the authorities in Nawanshahr on the directions of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.
Amarinder had spotted illegal mining on the Sutlej riverbed while flying over the area in a chopper on way to Kartarpur on March 6 and ordered a thorough probe. The Nawanshahr authorities seized some heavy earth moving machines along with two forklifts and 30 tippers (trucks) from village Malikpur following his directive.
Khaira further alleged that besides a cabinet minister, some other ruling party MLAs were involved in the illegal sand mining in the state.
The CM will have to tell the people of the state that what is the role of Channi in illegal mining, he said.
Congress leader Channi rejected Khaira's accusations as baseless and asked him to refrain from giving "false" statements to the media.
In a press statement, Channi termed Khaira's comments as false and baseless and asked him to withdraw them otherwise he would file a defamation case against him.
Channi said that as a cabinet minister now or as an opposition leader earlier, he always raised the issue of illegal mining and is strictly against it.
He said that none of his family members or relative has any link with legal or illegal mining.
Channi said the AAP has been marginalized in Punjab and Khaira "creates new drama daily to stay in the media headlines.
Under the leadership of Khaira, AAP miserably failed in all elections in Punjab which included the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha by-election, municipal council and corporation elections and the graph of AAP went down to zero in the state.
Due to this, Khaira is suffering from mental sickness and is making false accusations.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)