The Punjab and Haryana high court came down heavily on the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for its “poor handling” of the extradition case of those sitting abroad and wanted in the Bhola drug racket case, calling it a “third-rate agency”.
The high court bench summoned the Interpol division head of the CBI and the special investigating team head of Punjab Police along with the records related to extradition of 13 accused from various countries.
The high court bench of justice Surya Kant and justice PB Bajanthri also summoned drug controllers of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh on the next date of hearing on December 2.
During the resumed hearing, the CBI counsel submitted that red-corner notices had been issued against the 13 people and claimed that queries raised by various countries had been sent to Punjab Police and their replies were awaited.
However, Punjab additional advocate general Reeta Kohli objected to the CBI giving details in the open court and not in a sealed cover, saying it could jeopardise the investigations by the state; she termed the CBI move “irresponsible”.
‘Agency has lost credibility’
Taking note of the submissions, the high court bench observed that the CBI had lost credibility. “People will have to fall back on local police. Third-rate agency you have become. What image you have built in recent years, all know. You have made mockery of the system,” the high court bench said, while asking the agency as to why the affidavit was filed by a local senior superintendent and not by a senior official, and how it could not figure out that giving details not in a sealed cover could jeopardise investigations.
While summoning the Interpol branch head of the CBI and seeking affidavit from the joint director of the agency in the region, the high court bench wondered as to why these officers should be paid from the public exchequer and not sent on leave for such a conduct.
As the CBI told the high court that it had been writing letters and Punjab’s response was awaited, the high court bench said CBI officers had become “mentally bankrupt”. “Are you a desk clerk? You are a premier agency. This arrogant force must understand their duties,” the bench observed, pointing out that there was no coordination between Punjab Police and the CBI.
Also pulls up Punjab Police
The court also pulled up Punjab Police saying they were also making wild statements. “Except getting cheap publicity you are doing nothing,” the high court told Punjab Police, while asking them to submit the record on red-corner notices so that it could be figured out as to who was at fault in the delay in extradition of the drug accused sitting abroad.
Later, the CBI was allowed to file a fresh affidavit on the red-corner notices issue and Punjab was asked to file fresh status report on the drug probe so far. The high court bench also summoned drug controllers of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh.
Earlier, they failed to give details about their enforcement wings and machinery available to check violations in case of controlled drugs.
The ministry of home affairs was also allowed to file its sealed-cover report on a letter written by the Border Security Force last year, seeking sealing of the international border with Pakistan to check drug-peddling.
During the hearing, one of the counsels, Navkiran Singh, highlighted the issue of use of corex and fancy drill by youth and sought direction to check the sale of the two drugs. However, the court said drug controllers would be present on the next date of hearing and no direction should be issued in haste.
Former director general of police (prisons) Shashi Kant sought a monitoring body to check the ground reality. The court asked Kant and other counsels to prepare notes identifying areas that needed to be addressed and also take help from NGOs working in the field.