Contrary to the earlier plans of the state home affairs department, headed by Sukhbir Badal, to get Punjabi singer KS Makhan acquitted in the heroin smuggling case, the Jalandhar (rural) police on Monday advised district magistrate Shruti Singh not to withdraw the seven-year-old case pertaining to drug smuggling from the court.
SSP Yurinder Singh Hayre, in his report to the district magistrate, said a local court had already framed charges against Makhan under various sections of the Narcotics Drug and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act a month ago. "In such a situation, the court should be allowed to decide the case on merit. Makhan may defend his case in the court," Hayre concluded.
Earlier, Singh had sought a report from the SSP on the home affairs department's communiqué to her for initiating process to withdraw the case against Makhan from the court, as the accused had lodged an application with the department pleading that he had been falsely implicated in the case.
Interestingly, the state government is scheduled to submit its reply in the Punjab and Haryana high court on Tuesday with regard to a public interest litigation filed by advocate HC Arora on the state government's instructions issued to the Jalandhar district magistrate to withdraw Makhan's case from the court.
Sources said a Canada-based journalist, considered close to the senior SAD leadership, has been lobbying for Makhan's acquittal in the case. The law entitles the state to withdraw the case, with the consent of the court, at any time before the judgment is pronounced. The journalist is a native of Goraya.
Hindustan Times was the first to report on the government's instructions to the Jalandhar district magistrate in this regard. Subsequently, Arora filed the PIL. "The government did not wish to further solicit bad publicity in the media by supporting Makhan's case since the deputy chief minister had been campaigning against abuse of drugs in Punjab ever since formation of the SAD-BJP government last year. Besides, the high court may take an adverse view of the state's plan to save a chargesheeted person from facing the law of the land," sources said.
Makhan had earlier filed an application in the HC for discharging him from the case, but he later preferred to withdraw the plea. He had also filed a plea in the HC seeking permission to go abroad. The Punjab Police had urged the high court to dismiss Makhan's plea seeking permission to go abroad in view of the circumstances and in the interest of justice. Later, Makhan withdrew the plea.
Makhan, currently out on bail, is living at his native village Shankar near Nakodar. He had been booked under sections 8, 21, 25, 29, 60 and 61 of the NDPS Act on August 1, 2006.
Makhan and two other Canadian citizens had received a supply of heroin from the former's brother Hardeep Sngh Kala, also resident of Shankar village. It is alleged that Makhan, Raja and Lakhwinder Singh Lakha used to send money through the hawala route to Kala to buy drugs from smugglers in Jalandhar, Nakodar and Ludhiana.
The Punjab Police had frozen some properties of the family of Makhan describing it as illegally acquired from the earning from smuggling of heroin. The police had issued an order on December28, 2011 under the NDPS Act to freeze the property owned by Kulwinder Singh, father of the singer, situated at Shankar village.
The order had said that it had been proved in the investigation that property measuring 35 kanals and 15 marlas worth Rs 1.4 crore at Shankar village had been bought from earnings from drug smuggling.