The Punjab and Haryana high court on Tuesday reserved its judgment in a case in which industrialist Jagjit Singh Chahal, a co-accused in the international drug racket being probed by the Punjab police’s special investigating team (SIT), has sought a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the case.
The judgment was reserved by justice K Kannan after arguments of all parties in the case concluded on Tuesday. Chahal had approached the high court in January through his counsel, submitting that there was an urgent need to “unearth the unholy nexus involving officials, ministers, bureaucrats, leaders of political parties and other such persons occupying positions in higher echelons of power and authority”.
He had alleged that no impartial investigation was expected from the local police which were allegedly playing into the hands of vested political interests.However, the Punjab police SIT had refuted all allegations made by the petitioner and had submitted that every laid-down procedure was being followed to probe the case in which illegal drugs were recovered from the premises of the petitioner’s factory.
Industrialist in dock
A resident of Ramanachak village in Baba Bakala tehsil of Amritsar district, Chahal was arrested by the Amritsar police on the intervening night of November 13 and 14 last year from his residence. He was later confined in the Nabha jail in the case in which the FIR was initially registered on May 15 last year under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act at Banur police station in Patiala district.
Chahal is one of the directors of two pharmaceutical units by the name of Montek Biopharma in Himuda industrial area, Baddi, in Solan district of Himachal Pradesh and MBP Pharmaceuticals at Jodhapur village, Barotiwala, also in Solan district. He claims to have obtained due licence from the state drugs controller, Himachal Pradesh, and the Narcotics Control Bureau for manufacturing and selling of medicine etc., including ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, which were recovered during the probe from his industrial units.
The high court had on March 22 granted bail to Chahal. On April 6, Hindustan Times had highlighted that how justice Muttaci Jeyapaul, in an “unusual” practice, had accepted the direct surrender and granted bail to Chahal, even though he had not first followed the set practice of approaching the trial court. This was a setback to the Punjab special investigating team (SIT) working on the case that also involved former Punjab police deputy superintendent of police (DSP) and Arjuna Award-winning wrestler Jagdish Bhola.
Later, the Punjab government had filed a special leave petition (SLP) in the Supreme Court to challenge the controversial judgment of justice Jeyapaul. The petition was admitted and is pending adjudication.