Follow Us:
Sunday, January 23, 2022

Majithia’s drug case bail a fillip to SAD in poll-bound Punjab

Reacting to the relief that the former minister got from the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi said the bail didn’t mean the case had been closed.

Written by Navjeevan Gopal | Chandigarh |
January 10, 2022 7:36:06 pm
Bikram Singh Majithia, PM's security breach, Narendra Modi, Modi, Congress, Akali dal, Chandigarh news, Chandigarh, Indian express, Indian express news, Punjab newsSAD leader Bikram Singh Majithia (file)

The SAD got a shot in the arm in poll-bound Punjab as party leader Bikram Singh Majithia was on Monday granted interim bail in a drugs case that had triggered claims of vendetta politics and counterclaims of having delivered justice to the victims of the drug menace that has beset the state.

Reacting to the relief that the former minister got from the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi said the bail didn’t mean the case had been closed. “[Majithia got] the bail, but the case has not ended. He will have to appear before [the SIT] on Wednesday,” he said in Moga.

Majithia’s bail plea had alleged that he had been targeted by the Congress government as part of a political vendetta, for which the son of the police officer heading the special investigation team that booked him had been “promoted out of turn” by former DGP Siddharth Chattopadhyaya. Chattopadhyaya was accused of promoting sub-inspector Princepreet Singh, son of Assistant Inspector General Balraj Singh, out of turn. And SAD spokesperson had alleged that Chattopadhyaya had been made the police chief in order to frame Majithia. The party had also contended it was unprecedented for a DGP to order the registration of a case.

The brother-in-law of SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal, Majithia is a powerful figure in the party and had wielded considerable clout in the SAD-BJP government. The Congress and other parties have long accused him of links with a drug racket, an allegation that both Majithia and his party deny. Weeks ahead of the upcoming Assembly polls, on December 20, a case was registered against him on the basis of a special task force report on the drugs racket that had been submitted to the high court in 2018, but kept under wraps since. The task force had also taken into account the money laundering investigations carried out by the Enforcement Directorate in eight drug cases in Punjab from 2013 to 2016. Majithia is alleged to have been associated with, and hosted, several accused in the drug racket. Of the 54 accused in the racket, 23 were convicted by a trial court in February 2019. One of them, Jagdish Singh Bhola, an Arjuna awardee, was sentenced to 12 years in jail and dismissed as a deputy superintendent of police.

The former minister was booked under Sections 25 (allowing premises to be used an offence), 27A (financing illicit traffic and harbouring offenders) and 29 (abetment and criminal conspiracy) of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act. A Mohali court had turned down Majithia’s petition for anticipatory bail in the case, following which he moved the high court.

After the FIR against Majithia was registered, Chief Minister Channi had tweeted, “Those mothers who lost their son to drugs, those young boys and girls whose life got ruined due to drugs… Today the first step has been taken to give justice to all of them by registering an FIR against Majithia.”

And state Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu, who had attacked his own party’s government over the issue, welcomed the registration of the case. “After 5.5 Years of fight against Corrupt System run by Badal Family & Captain and delay of 4 years without action taken on ED & STF Report against Majithia. Finally now, after pushing for credible officers in positions of power and influence first step has been taken !!” he had tweeted then.

Amarinder Singh, who had to unceremoniously step down as chief minister amid accusations of favouring the SAD and not investigating the racket properly, had slammed the Channi government over the Majithia case. “I know this matter, this FIR is in violation of the law, it’s sheer vendetta,” Amarinder, who has floated a new party and announced an alliance with the BJP, had said.

The SAD has held protests against the Channi government for “framing” Majithia. And Parkash Singh Badal, the party’s patron and former chief minister, termed the case against Majithia as “vendetta politics”. And Sukbhir Singh Badal had accused the Congress of playing politics on “issues of sacrilege and drugs” and said Chattopadhyaya had been used by Amarinder against the Badal family.

Chattopadhyaya is a recipient of the President’s police medal for gallantry, a police (special duty) medal and a police medal for meritorious service as well as the director-general’s commendation roll twice during his BSF stint. He had supervised an investigation of Parkash Singh Badal’s and his family members’ property in a 2003 disproportionate assets case registered by the Congress government led by the Amarinder. The Badals and a number of other accused were acquitted by a Mohali court in 2010 due to lack of evidence.

📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines

For all the latest Chandigarh News, download Indian Express App.

  • Newsguard
  • The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.
  • Newsguard