The Punjab and Haryana high court on Monday granted four weeks’ time to the Punjab Police to submit a detailed reply as to how many drug peddlers as well as addicts have been arrested till date, and what efforts have been made to extradite NRIs (non-resident Indians) alleged to be involved in international drug racket.
The court also directed the police to provide protection to Niranjan Singh, assistant director of the enforcement directorate at Jalandhar, by Tuesday.
The directions came from the division bench comprising chief justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and justice Ajay Tewari during the hearing of a petition filed by former Punjab director general of police (prisons) Shashi Kant. Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) president Partap Singh Bajwa and former Congress MP Jagmeet Brar had filed applications in the case to assist the court.
All of them are seeking a probe by the CBI, alleging political influence of the SAD-BJP government in the state police investigation.
During the hearing, Punjab advocate general Ashok Aggarwal submitted a status report of the police probe into the case in a sealed cover; the court returned it after going through it, and sought a detailed report.
Advocate Sukhdeep Singh Sandhu, representing the ED, also informed the court that the government had not provided police protection till date to ED officer Niranjan Singh despite several reminders.
Niranjan has been at the forefront of the probe by the ED that has interrogated some high-profile persons including the son of a minister.
ON CBI PROBE DEMAND
Congress’ Jagmeet Brar, who was present in the court, argued that the drug menace was the largest problem in Punjab after Independence, and thus the probe should be handed over to the CBI. He also leveled allegations against the Badal government of not probing politicians’ role in the nexus. Brar also submitted that earlier the state government said there was a Congress-led UPA government at the Centre and thus the probe should not be handed over to the CBI. “But now there is a BJP-led NDA at the Centre… the Punjab government should not fear a CBI probe,” he submitted. But the AG informed the court that probe into the case by the state police was going in the right direction with co-operation of various agencies. The court also said that “as of now” there was no need to hand over the probe to the CBI. The case was adjourned for September 15.