The district courts in Mohali.
The district courts in Mohali.

Absconding Bhola drug case accused surrenders in Mohali court, sent to judicial custody

Harmesh Gaba was on the run for more than 7 months after the trial court cancelled his bail in December last year
By Gagandeep Jassowal, Jalandhar
PUBLISHED ON JUL 23, 2021 01:17 AM IST

Having evaded arrest for more than 7 months, Harmesh Kumar Gaba, an accused in the multi-crore synthetic Bhola drug racket case, recently surrendered in a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court, Mohali.

The court handed over his custody to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and sent him to judicial custody in a Ludhiana jail, said officials.

Gaba, who is facing charges of money laundering, had approached the Punjab and Haryana high court, challenging the non-bailable warrants issued by the Mohali court and the ongoing proclaimed offender (PO) proceedings against him. The HC, however, dismissed his petition and asked to surrender in the trial court.

Harmesh, brother of Goraya-based businessman Chunni Lal Gabba, the other accused in the Bhola drug case, also moved a bail application in the PMLA court. In 2017, he had availed bail from the high court in the case but it was cancelled by the trial court in December last year. He was absconding since.

The trial court has now issued a notice to the ED on his plea. The officials said Harmesh sold two prime properties in Phagwara even as they were attached by the ED.

On July 1, Kapurthala police had booked Harmesh, Phagwara tehsildar Praveen Kumar Chibber (now posted in Shahkot), a patwari and others for cheating and criminal conspiracy for selling 14 kanal land attached under the PMLA.

On Thursday (July 22), the police arrested Avtar Singh, posted as registry clerk in the Phagwara tehsil office, in property sale case. Praveen Kumar Chibber is still absconding, said Phagwara superintendent of police (SP), Sarabjit Singh Bahia.

A senior Kapurthala police official said they will bring harnesh on production warrant in the case.

The ED had chargesheeted nine members of the Gaba family, associated with Chunni Lal Gaba’s 11 firms, in connection with the Bhola drug case for alleged violation of the PMLA.

Besides Chunni, his three sons — Gurjit, Gurmesh and Mahesh — father Suresh Kumar, brother Harmesh Gaba, 23-year-old grandson Khushwant Gaba, Gurjit’s wife Rekha and Harmesh’s wife Sudesh Rani were booked.

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