2015 Fazilka drug smuggling case: HC breather to Khaira on ED raids
Punjab and Haryana high court (HC) on Thursday asked the adjudicating authority of Enforcement Directorate (ED) not to pass a final order in a case pertaining to raids on Congress leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira’s properties on March 9.
The HC bench of justice Ritu Bhari and justice Vivek Puri allowed the adjudicating authority to continue with the proceedings before it but restrained it from passing the final order, senior advocate Vikram Chaudhri said. A detailed order in this regard is awaited.
On June 4, Khaira had approached the HC against the show-cause notice from the adjudicating authority in which it had asked him on April 12 as to why the agency should not be allowed to examine his electronic devices. Show-cause notice was issued after ED approached the authority for permission to open his electronic devices such as phones.
In HC, Khaira said electronic devices can’t be allowed to be opened as it would amount to breach of privacy. The agency has initiated these proceedings even as entire probe is under the scrutiny before the high court, he argued in the HC.
The matter had reached the court on March 19 when Khaira had sought quashing of ED’s raids, carried out on March 9, 2021, on his properties as well as of persons associated with him, in connection with a 2015 Fazilka drug smuggling case. Following the raids, ED had claimed that in 12 odd years, ₹4.86 crore were deposited in his bank accounts but his declared income to the income tax department stood at ₹99 lakh.
ED initiated a probe against Khaira, who joined Congress last week, in a 2015 drug seizure case in which nine persons were convicted in October 2017. In the same order, the trial court had summoned him as “additional accused”, a decision subsequently stayed by the Supreme Court.
Khaira claims ED’s action was a case of “witch hunt” as he has been vocal against three farm laws enacted by the Centre last year.