The Punjab government submitted a status report in the drug-scam probe in a sealed envelope to the Punjab and Haryana high court on Thursday during the hearing of petitions seeking handover of the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The bench of acting chief justice Ashutosh Mohunta heard all sides and set the next hearing for January 16, observing that the case needed to be examined.
Earlier, Shashi Sharma, district president of an NGO named Punjab Human Rights Organisation sought also to become a party in the drug probe case. He claimed that a list of 2,787 persons involved in the drug trade was submitted to the Jalandhar police commissioner but the authorities did not act. He also submitted that the list was forwarded to deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, who holds the home affairs portfolio. He also claimed that the list had been provided to him by a man named Arjun, who was later allegedly killed by the “drug mafia”.
During the hearing, former MP Jagmeet Singh Brar, an intervener in the case, submitted that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had already starting summoning accused in the case, including many politicians, though he did not name anybody. Brar submitted that the situation was grave and immediate steps were needed to eradicate the drug menace in the state. HT had reported earlier this week that Punjab revenue minister Bikram Singh Majithia would be summoned; while some other leaders have already been examined multiple times.
Another intervener, Navkiran Singh, stated that a list of non-resident Indians (NRIs) had been provided to the government agencies wherein the process of their extradition was to be initiated, but nothing appeared to have been done so far.
Punjab advocate general Ashok Aggarwal submitted that the inquiry was on and challans had been filed in many cases: “Wherever needed, supplementary challans are also being filed.”
However, former director general of police, Punjab, Shashi Kant, who is also a petitioner in the case, said the government was misleading the court and investigations were not being carried out properly.
Aggarwal, meanwhile, reiterated the state government’s submissions made in October 2014, before another bench of the HC, for clubbing all petitions related to drug cases. Stating that more than five petitions were pending before different benches of HC, the government had sought the clubbing to avoid conflicting orders.