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Punjab drug racket: Addl DGP raises questions on STF probe, ‘Majithia link’

🔴 There are allegations against SAD leader Bikram Singh Majithia of being involved in the drugs racket in Punjab.

Written by Navjeevan Gopal | Chandigarh |
December 14, 2021 4:49:03 pm
Punjab News, Punjab Weather Today liveSAD leader Bikram Singh Majithia. (Express photo by Kamleshwar Singh)

In a major embarrassment to the Congress government, the newly appointed Punjab Bureau of Investigation Director, Additional DGP S K Asthana, has written to state Officiating DGP Iqbal Preet Singh Sahota raising questions over the ongoing probe into the drug racket in the state.

Citing observations made by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Asthana in the December 11 letter has said that the chief of the Special Task Force investigating the drugs case, ADGP Harpreet Singh Sidhu, was a relative of Akali leader Bikram Singh Majithia. There are allegations against Majithia of being involved in the drugs racket in Punjab.

Asthana raises eight such “questions” regarding the drug racket probe, adding that these be answered further investigations are carried out.

The third chief of the Bureau of Investigation appointed by the Channi government in the last two months, Asthana went on medical leave soon after sending the letter.

Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu has been questioning the state government publicly over the matter of the STF probe, asking why it had not made public the contents of a report filed in 2018 by it into the alleged politician-police nexus in the drug racket.

The government has been saying it’s the prerogative of the High Court to divulge the contents of the report.

Asked about Additional DGP Asthana’s letter, Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, who holds the Home portfolio, said: “The rule of law will prevail.”

Randhawa also asserted that far from passing strictures against the state government, the High Court had said that Punjab had come out of its “deep slumber” on the issue. He added that the cyber unit would look into how Asthana’s letter got “leaked”.

Asthana told The Indian Express he was not well and could not talk.

Randhawa incidentally said the government will take a call on whether a new Bureau of Investigation chief was needed depending upon the length of medical leave sought by Asthana.

STF chief Sidhu denied that Majithia was a relative. “He is a cousin of my cousin. It doesn’t make him a relative or a close family relative.” In a written response, Sidhu added: “The facts regarding illegal activities and drug trafficking are serious and should be investigated.”

Majithia was not available for comment.

Late last month, Majithia had sought to be made party to the case, alleging an attempted frame-up by the Congress government. The Akali Dal has been holding protests saying Majithia, the brother-in-law of Sukhbir Singh Badal, might be arrested any day.

In his letter, Asthana asks: “Can further investigation be ordered in cases where trials have already been concluded; Can reinvestigation/ further investigation be carried out in these cases by any other officer except the SIT appointed by Hon’ble High Court; Would ordering further investigation in these cases not amount to completely ignoring the directions of Hon’ble High Court in CWP No. 88 of 2014; Would it be legally tenable to act upon the report of the Head, STF, when the same lies sealed in custody of the Hon’ble High Court… despite presumably requesting the Hon’ble High Court by the Advocate General, Punjab, to return the same, the same has not been returned back; Would it be lawful to act upon the report of the Head, STF, when the same has already been superseded or merged with the subsequent report of the committee constituted by the State of Punjab consisting of then DGP and Additional Chief Secretary (Department of Home Affairs and Justice); Was Harpreet Sidhu, STF head, entitled to inquire about the alleged role of Bikram Singh Majithia despite having family relations; What is the weight of the three statements recorded by the Enforcement Directorate to further investigate the role of Bikram Singh Majithia, especially when the Enforcement Directorate itself chose not to proceed against him; and Can the latest legal advice of the learned Advocate General be relied upon in the light of the fact that the same may be completely contradictory or in consonance to the previous legal advice/s tendered by former Advocate General/s, Punjab especially when this case has been deliberated upon since a long period of time.”

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