After getting the permission from Patiala district court, the deck is now all cleared for Punjab Police to take drug lord Jagdish Singh Bhola, one of the accused in multi-crore high profile case, to Mumbai via road.
Bhola is expected to be taken to Mumbai under heavy security arrangements anytime on June 20 for a hearing scheduled for June 23 in the case registered against him in 2009 under Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act. Special judge (NDPS) Myak Shaikh had issued a warrant for producing Bhola in the Mumbai court.
The police had ruled against taking Bhola via air or rail transport due to security reasons. Taking the road to Mumbai is costing the department more than Rs 3 lakh.
Earlier, the Patiala district court had issued notices to both the Patiala police and the Nabha jail authorities on the basis of Bhola’s application on June 17, in which he had cited apprehensions regarding the security arrangements during the journey spanning 1,624 km in one direction.
In his reply to the court, superintendent of police Sharanjit Singh, on behalf of Patiala police, told the court that due care, caution and high security would be provided, while producing the accused in Mumbai court.
Moreover, the police reply stated that if Mumbai court gave its approval, the Punjab police had no objection if the proceedings could be completed through video conferencing, as the same would save the expenses of the administration, besides saving time of the police.
However, Nabha jail deputy superintendent Manjit Singh Tiwana in his reply had briefed the court that Bhola was to be produced earlier on May 7, but they failed to produce him after the Patiala police didn’t provide police escort, despite formal request was made to the police.
Hearing this, the Mumbai court had ordered a production warrant and made it mandatory for personal appearance of Bhola on June 23, following which ADGP (prisons) directed Patiala senior superintendent of police to make adequate security arrangements to ensure his production in Mumbai.
“Satisfied with the replies from the jail authorities and the police department, the court has allowed the police to take Bhola to Mumbai. The court has directed to ensure Bhola’s safe return so as to produce him before Patiala court on July 7 for hearing in two other cases,” said Satish Karkre, Bhola’s counsel.
Meanwhile, replying to the threat to Bhola’s life during journey via road, Nabha jail official told court that Punjab police would be fully responsible for the safe custody of Bhola during round trip journey from Nabha to Mumbai and would have to ensure his presence in Patiala court on July 4.
Not revealing about the security arrangements, the Patiala SP said, “Details of the security provided or the means of transport cannot be disclosed at this stage due to security reasons.”
It must be mentioned that soon after his arrest in an alleged Rs 6,000 crore drug racket in November 2013, Bhola, a former deputy superintendent of police, had alleged that several high profile people were involved in the case.