Five time chief minister and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) patron Parkash Singh Badal today said leader of opposition Sukhpal Khaira should tender his resignation immediately on moral and ethical grounds even as he maintained that this had been his consistent stand on this issue.In a statement here, Mr Badal said “the fact of the matter is that I was the first person to ask for Sukhpal Khaira’s resignation on November 1, immediately after he was summoned as an accused in a cross border drug racket case with Pakistani links by a Fazilka court. I voiced this demand to newsmen at the party head office here. This is a matter of record”. The former CM said he had demanded Khaira’s resignation in the latter’s own interest as well as those of the people of the State because it was the first time that a leader of opposition in Punjab had been accused of abetting drug smuggling and anti- national activities and even termed as king pin of such a racket. “I had even stated that available evidence indicated Khaira had a partnership with the accused who had been awarded maximum sentence of twenty years”.
Asserting that the situation had become even more serious following the initial summoning by the Fazilka court, the former CM said Khaira had filed a revision petition before the honorable high court demanding setting aside of the lower court order. “The high court dismissed this petition and upheld the Fazilka court order summoning him as an accused. It also stated that details of calls between Khaira and the accused persons could not be taken lightly in the wake of drug smuggling across the Pakistan border. It also rejected Khaira’s claims that he was a victim of political vendetta by stating that it was not ready to accept submission that the action taken by prosecution was actuated with malice. In light of this judgement by the honorable high court Khaira’s position has become untenable and he should not delay tendering his resignation any longer”, Mr Badal added.Referring to a media story quoting him as saying that Khaira should quit only when held guilty, the former CM said the import of his words had not been understood in right perspective and that he was quoted out of context. “It was not understood that this is not an ordinary case of political vendetta but a case of heroin and arms smuggling in which the accused have been awarded punishment after trial and now Khaira’s links have been established with the main accused. In ordinary cases of political vendetta one can wait for final outcome of the case, but in this case when the honorable high court has ruled against Khaira he has no option but step aside to maintain probity in public life and respect the honour and dignity of the chair he holds”, Mr Badal added.