Patiala court denies bail to drug lords Bhola, Raja in money laundering case

  • ANI, Patiala
  • Updated: Mar 06, 2015 18:02 IST

A lawyer representing drug lords Jagdish Singh Bhola and Varinder Singh Raja has said that he will approach the Punjab and Haryana High Court to seek bail after a Sessions Court in Patiala denied his clients bail in connection with a money laundering case.

Reacting to the verdict of the Patiala Sessions Judge, advocate Satish Karkra said, "The arguements related to the money-laundering case were to be heard today (Thursday), but since the Special Judge of the Sessions Court was on leave, the court had decided to fix another date for the hearing of the bail application as well as the trial. The next date of hearing has been fixed for April 2."

Karkra's statement was made days after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had filed another complaint against the twelve accused in the multi-crore drugs racket. Drug lords Jagdish Singh Bhola and Varinder Singh Raja are the main accused in the case.

Both Bhola and Raja, and the dozen others, are under the scanner of the ED, which is investigating the trail of money generated from drug deals. The ED suspects that the money and drugs might have exchanged several hands and was pumped into several businesses and industrial establishments.

The sessions court dismissed the bail application after ED described the case as being of a "serious nature", and maintained that if the accused are released, they might tamper with the avialable evidence and even look for ways to abscond.

The denial of bail came just three days after the ED had filed a chargesheet against the twelve accused in the case. The ED had registered case under various sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002, in March 2013.

According to reports, while the over 1300-page complaint against Bhola was submitted by the ED in March 2014, a recent complaint, which listed former Akali leader Manjinder Singh alias Bittu Aulakh, drug smuggler NRI Anoop Singh Kahlon and Varinder Raja as accused was submitted on Monday.

Bhola has also named Bikram Singh Majithia, a minister in the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) Government in Punjab, as one of the kingpins behind the sale of drugs across the state.

Bhola and Raja approached Patiala local court seeking bail in December last. While moving the bail application Bhola's counsel Satish Karkra pleaded before the court that his client has been lodged in jail for over one year and claimed that the ED had no direct evidence against him.

However, ED Deputy Director Niranjan Singh, who was also asked to be present in court, submitted that the accused could not plead 'not guilty' since case was based on his own statement. He also revealed that the ED is in the process of rounding up other suspects, and requested the court to fix another date for the hearing of the case.

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