In what could help in the extradition of drug traffickers hiding in the other countries, the Punjab and Haryana high court on Wednesday gave the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) a month to act on the extradition requests of the accused in Punjab’ Bhola synthetic drug racket.
The high court bench of justice Surya Kant and justice PB Bajanthri directed all the stakeholders to expedite the extradition in the case lingering for more than two years now. The court told the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to process Punjab’s red-corner-notice requests related to the racket within two weeks. For curbing delay on part of Punjab Police, the high court appointed supervisory team of three IPS (Indian Police Service) officers as nodal agency with the CBI on state police matters related to the Bhola case. The team is required to hold frequent meetings and strengthen coordination. The MEA as well as the CBI will also submit status reports to the court on compliance. Punjab and the NCB have orders to coordinate with the MEA in extradition matters.
The high court direction is based on a sealed status report filed by standing counsel, CBI, Sukhdeep Sandhu, on behalf of National Central Bureau (NCB), CBI’s Interpol wing. NCB deputy inspector general Sahil Manohar, who was present in the court, submitted details of the processes involved in extradition, and the progress made, so far. The submission was about 13 red-corner notice requests from the state, based on which 12 notices were issued and one arrest made.
The high court also directed the Border Security Force (BSF) deployed along Pakistan to submit details of the infrastructure required to check cross-border drug smuggling. The direction came as the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had failed to file a satisfactory reply on action taken on the BSF demand to seal the border. The details are to be given to assistant solicitor general Chetan Mittal within two weeks, and he will further submit it to the MHA. The ministry will file a reply by January 13, the next date of hearing.