Channi to file defamation case against Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal

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CHANDIGARH: Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi on Friday said he will file a defamation case against AAP leader Arvind Kejrwal for dubbing him a dishonest man after the ED carried out some raids, including at the premises of the Congress leader’s nephew.

Channi alleged that the Delhi chief minister is a “fraud” who is in the habit of levelling accusations against others to malign their image close to elections and that in the past Kejriwal had to apologise to BJP leaders Nitin Gadkari and Arun Jaitley, besides SAD leader Bikram Singh Majithia.

He told reporters in his constituency in Chamkaur Sahib that Kejriwal had posted photos on social media showing him with currency notes which were not recovered from him.

Channi said he never wants a person, holding a chief minister’s post, to face a situation where he has to apologise, “but Kejriwal has now crossed all limits”.

“I will file a defamation case against Kejriwal and I have requested my party to give me permission for it. I have been compelled to do this…he is terming me dishonest and he has posted that on his social media accounts,” he said.

On another issue, Channi claimed that when he had said “outsiders” (trying to rule Punjab) were “kale angrej”, Kejriwal had made personal remarks against him.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) had on Wednesday said that it seized cash amounting to over Rs 10 crore, including about Rs 8 crore from a relative of Channi, during raids conducted in connection with an anti-money laundering investigation against illegal sand-mining operations in the poll-bound state.

Opposition parties, particularly the AAP, stepped up attacks on Channi and the Congress in the wake of the ED raids.

Earlier in the day, Kejriwal had said that Channi will be defeated from his Chamkaur Sahib seat in next month’s assembly polls, while stressing that people are shocked to see crores of rupees being seized from the home of Channi’s nephew.

Asked to comment on this, Channi replied, “Money has been seized from someone else, raids are being conducted on someone else, but he (Kejriwal) is dubbing me dishonest by posting photos showing bundles of notes (seized during ED raids) with my photo on social media”.

“He is calling me dishonest…did he call himself dishonest when his nephew was caught with crores,” asked Channi.

The chief minister said it can be his mistake that he did not keep an eye on his relatives but why is Kejriwal connecting things to him.

“What money came to me, what is my fault in this? Why are you dragging me into this? Someone else’s money has been seized… there was a raid at ten places in Punjab, why are you linking me with it? Had the money been seized from me, the ED would have conducted raids at my house, arrested me, questioned me,” Channi said seeking to clarify his position over the opposition’s accusations against him after the raid on his nephew.

He also asked if a person’s son gets into a drug habit, will his father be punished for it?

“My sons are here, my wife is here. Hang me if my family has any ill-gotten money but why am I being dragged into this issue,” he said.

To another question, he said it was his party’s prerogative to announce a chief ministerial face ahead of the February 20 polls.

Kejriwal had on Wednesday said that Channi was not a common man but a “dishonest man” as he sought to corner the Congress leader over the ED raids.

Channi said he does not even have money to erect his hoardings for polls in his constituency or to run a TV ad campaign, “whereas the AAP has installed hoardings worth Rs 200 crore in Punjab, besides running election campaign advertisements on television”. He questioned where the party had got the funds from?

“They are defaming a person who does not even have funds to fight his own election,” he said, adding that Kejriwal should fight elections without basing it on lies.

“You said 21.59 lakh people responded to your tele-campaign (on picking AAP’s CM face), but (former AAP MP) Dharamvira Gandhi said only 7,000 people responded,” said Channi.

Channi took a swipe at the AAP and its leader Bhgawant Mann, saying, “They are trying to make Bhagat Singh out of a person who claims to have given up his drinking habit by calling it a big sacrifice for Punjab.”

Taking another swipe at the comedian-turned-politician, Channi said, “Managing the stage and managing a government” are two different things. (PTI)