The Supreme Court has told the Punjab and Haryana high court to constitute a special bench for the early disposal of petitions related to the Rs 6,000 crore Bhola drug racket case.
The apex court order came on a bunch of petitions filed by the Punjab government and some private parties, challenging various orders of the Punjab and Haryana high court.
The bench of justice TS Thakur and justice R Banumathi recently told the acting chief justice of the high court to list the writ petitions pending in the high court and all criminal cases together with other similar petitions before an appropriate bench for an early disposal.
The Supreme Court was concerned over the “nature of allegations” made in the petitions and observed that there was need for an “early disposal” of these.
The apex court was hearing petitions, including one filed by the Punjab government challenging bail to Paramjit Singh Chahal and Jagjit Singh Chahal, accused in the drug racket case. Other petitions included those of Maninder Singh alias Bittu Aulakh, Surjit Singh and Dev Raj alias Dev Behl, all accused in the Bhola drug racket case.
The Supreme Court recorded that there were a few petitions in which the transfer of the case to the CBI had been sought and one wherein the high court had suo motu taken cognizance of the drug issue in the state.
With the Supreme Court orders, all bail matters which are before the Supreme Court, will be taken up by the special bench and the other cases pending before the single judge benches will also be transferred to this bench.
The drug racket case is being investigated by the Punjab Police and the HC is monitoring the probe. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has started an investigation to probe money-laundering allegations in the drug scam.
The case will come up for hearing in the HC on March 30, wherein the ED has to give the names of the officers who will replace Niranjan Singh, the key ED official, transferred from Jalandhar to Kolkata.