In a surprising judgment, justice Mehinder Singh Sullar of the Punjab and Haryana high court has granted bail to a Haryana industrialist and his father who have been declared proclaimed offenders in the international multi-crore drug racket by the Patiala trial court.
The order has come without even giving an opportunity to the state counsel to oppose the petition as per the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.
Perdipt Chaudhary and his father Prithvi Singh had sought directions for staying operation of the Patiala trial court’s order of April 24 declaring them proclaimed of fenders, through senior advocate RS Cheema.
It was on the first date of hearing of the application on May 19 that justice Sullar granted them interim bail without prior notice to the Punjab government.
The father-son duo is on the run since raids were conducted by the Punjab police at their factory premises, Pioneer Laboratories at Rishi Nagar, Karnal, on October 7 last year.
The order not only violates the directions issued by chief justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul of granting an opportunity to the investigating officer in bail matters to present his side to the court but is also against Section 37 of the NDPS Act.
The Act says that no accused “shall be released on bail or on his own bond unless the public prosecutor has been given an opportunity to oppose the application for such release.”
RECALL OF ORDER
When contacted, Patiala SSP Hardial Singh Maan, heading the special investigating team constituted to probe the drug racket, said it had been decided to file an application for recalling the May-19 order of granting bail to the accused.
Before justice Sullar, the case had earlier been heard by two high court judges but neither had granted relief to the accused.
On being questioned, senior advocate Reeta Kohli, representing the state, said, “We never got the court notice. Otherwise we would have vehemently opposed it.”
The petitioners had earlier filed a petition seeking transfer of probe from the Punjab police to any independent agency outside Punjab in the FIR registered on September 18 last year under the NDPS Act at Shambhu police station in Patiala district.
The petitioners had alleged that the Punjab police had illegally carried out search operations in Haryana without associating local authorities just to falsely implicate them and were making all-out efforts to get them declared as proclaimed offenders.
After registration of the FIR, search and raid was conducted in the petitioners’ factory premises on October 7 last year by the Punjab police and allegedly huge recovery of synthetic drugs and powder used to make drugs was made, including 1,570 capsules.
The police had informed the court that petitioners’ firm was manufacturing capsules being used as painkillers with use of dextropropoxyphene HCL.
However, the union ministry of health and family welfare had on May 23, 2013, suspended manufacture, sale and distribution of dextropropoxyphene for human use with immediate effect.