Lookout notice for former Punjab minister Majithia in drugs case
Bureau of Immigration, a wing of the Union home ministry, issued the circular on the request of Punjab Police that is trying to arrest the 46-year-old Majitha MLA booked under the NDPS Act
A day after Punjab Police booked Shiromani Akali Dal MLA and former Punjab minister Bikram Singh Majithia in a drugs case, the Union home ministry issued a lookout circular against him on the request of the state police.
The lookout notice was issued on Tuesday by the Bureau of Immigration, a wing of the Union home ministry, on the request of Punjab Police that is trying to arrest the 46-year-old Majitha MLA booked under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act on Monday following a report submitted by the special task force (STF) chief and additional director general of police Harpreet Singh Sidhu. The Bureau of Immigration has sent the copy of the notice to the additional director general of police (ADGP), counter intelligence.
“The lookout circular shall remain in force until and unless a deletion request is received by the Bureau of Immigration from the originator itself,” the notice said. The lookout circular is a letter used by the authorities to check if a travelling person is wanted by the police.
According to the 49-page FIR registered at the State Crime Police Station in Mohali, Majithia has been booked for cognisable offences under Sections 25 (Punishment for allowing premises, etc. to be used for commission of an offence), 27 (A) ( whoever is financing any activities indulging in production, manufacture, possession, sale, purchase, transportation, use or consumption, import and export or deal in any activities pertaining to narcotic drugs) and 29 (party to a criminal conspiracy to commit an offence) of NDPS Act.
These sections have the provision of imprisonment up to 10 years along with a fine as decided by the court.
Sufficient evidence against Majithia: FIR
“According to the findings of the STF report, prima facie there is sufficient evidence to further investigate the role of Majithia as regards the allegations made in application under scrutiny,” the FIR read, mentioning the STF chief’s report prepared on the basis of analysis of investigation done by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the Jagdish Bhola drug case.
In 2018, the STF chief was given the task to analyse the former Akali minister’s role. His report, based on the statements of drug case accused Jagjit Singh Chahal and Maninder Singh Bittu Aulakh to the ED, has been made part of the FIR. The drug case revolving around Arjuna awardee wrestler and dismissed DSP Jagdish Bhola involved a drug network that was busted by Punjab Police in 2013. On February 1, 2018, the STF had submitted its status report in the Punjab and Haryana high court, which later sought comments from the Punjab DGP and then home secretary. Since then, the report is lying in a sealed cover in the court.
AG pushed for action on STF chief’s report
The FIR also mentions Punjab’s advocate general DS Patwalia’s legal opinion which has strongly pushed for action on the STF chief’s report. “In my considered opinion which has been formed after having gone through the proceedings of the court, there is no impediment/embargo for the STF or any state agency to act upon the report submitted in the court. In fact, the court has made it categorically clear that law enforcement agencies must act upon the said reports in accordance with the law.”
Patwalia’s opinion is different from that of his predecessor who advised against acting on the report without the consent of the high court.
The process to register the case was initiated after DGP Sidharth Chattopadhyaya wrote to the director, Bureau of Investigation (BoI), on December 20, two days after he took charge as officiating Punjab DGP.
The FIR has been registered on the complaint of the station house officer (SHO), state crime police station, inspector Kailash Bahadur.
A special investigation team (SIT) has been constituted to investigate the case.
The act invited immediate accusations that the ruling Congress in Punjab is trying to settle political scores ahead of assembly elections early next year. Majithia, the brother of former Union minister and Bathinda MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal, is a high-profile Akali leader.