In a major development ahead of the Punjab Assembly polls, state chief minister and Congress leader Charanjit Singh Channi’s nephew Bhupendra Singh Honey has been arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in an illegal sand-mining case, based on an FIR filed in 2018. The agency took Honey into custody late last evening and he has been produced in a CBI court today.
Voting for the 117-member Punjab Legislative Assembly is scheduled to be held on February 20, and the results will be declared on March 10. Speaking to reporters following the arrest, Channi said he was happy to let the law take its course.
Honey’s arrest comes on the heels of ED raids last month on premises owned by the businessman, during which the agency seized Rs 8 crore. In a statement about the raids, the ED had claimed that documents relating to illegal sand mining and property transactions, mobile phones, gold worth more than Rs 20 lakh, and an imported watch worth Rs 12 lakh were also seized.
Following the raids, Channi had told reporters that relatives of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had also been targeted by Central probe agencies before and after Assembly elections in the state, and the same strategy was being adopted by the ED in Punjab against him, his ministers and Congress party members. Denying all links with the case, Channi had declared that he was ready to withstand the pressure.