The Patiala district court has issued a notice to the Punjab police regarding security arrangements in place for shifting Jagdish Singh Bhola, accused in a drugs case, to stand trial in a Mumbai via road.
Bhola, a former Punjab Police officer is one of the main accused in a multi-crore drug case. He will return to Nabha jail once the formalities in Mumbai are completed. This too will be viar road.
He moved the court citing apprehensions regarding the security arrangements during the journey spanning 1,624km in one direction.
The court has issued notices to the enforcement directorate, the Punjab government, Patiala's senior superintendent of police and superintendent of Nabha jail to file their replies to Bhola's application by June 19.
Bhola, is presently lodged in maximum security jail in Nabha. He is expected to be taken to Mumbai on June 20.
The police ruled against taking him via air and rail transport due to security concerns.
In his five page application, Satish Karkra, Bhola's counsel, stated that by taking the road, the enforcement directorate and Punjab police are risking his client's life.
"Bhola's physical appearance in Mumbai court is not necessary at all as he was given bail then. And if the police found it so necessary, then it must use electronic means including video conferencing from Nabha jail premises for Bhola's appearance in Mumbai court", Karkra said.
He further argued that the rail and air options were a much safer and more economical option. Taking the road to Mumbai is costing the department more than Rs 3 lakh.
"It is a serious threat to Bhola's life since it would take six days for a trip via road to Mumbai and back. The police should deploy IPS rank officer to ensure adequate security," he added.
Soon after his arrest in November 2013, in an alleged Rs 6,000 crore drug racket, Bhola had alleged several high profile persons were involved in the case.
The enforcement directorate has even questioned a few high profile politicians, including revenue minister Bikram Majithia, in connection with the case.
"The people named in the case, in connivance with the authorities, might try to exterminate Bhola under the camouflage of this particular journey", Karkra stated in the application.