Punjab drugs case: HC extends interim protection from arrest to Majithia till Jan 24
The Punjab and Haryana high court on Tuesday extended interim protection from arrest to Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader and former Punjab minister Bikram Singh Majithia till January 24 in the drugs case registered against him by Punjab Police in Mohali on December 20.
The order was passed during resumed hearing of his anticipatory bail plea by the bench of justice Lisa Gill, one of his counsel, Arshdeep Singh Cheema, said.
On January 10, the high court had asked Majithia to join the probe on January 12 and also directed the police not to arrest him.
After remaining underground for nearly 20 days, Majithia surfaced a day after the high court gave him interim protection. He appeared before the special investigation team (SIT) in Mohali.
Majithia was booked under Sections 25 (punishment for allowing premises), 27 (A) (whoever is financing any activities pertaining to narcotic drugs) and 29 (party to a criminal conspiracy to commit an offence) of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act on December 20.
On December 24, a Mohali court dismissed his anticipatory bail plea.
In the high court, Majithia roped in Supreme Court lawyer Mukul Rohtagi and senior advocate RS Cheema. Former Union minister P Chidambaram is leading the team of lawyers for Punjab Police.
In his plea, Majithia termed the FIR an “election stunt” and alleged that the Charanjit Singh Channi-led Congress government had changed three Punjab Police chiefs in three months to get this FIR registered. The plea also accused Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu of indulging in “unwarranted propaganda” and deputy chief minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa of demonstrating “intense hatred” towards Majithia.
Punjab Police, in its response, had said that the government machinery was used for the benefit of drug cartels during the Akali regime in the state. Majithia was a key minister in the Akali government and it was during the Shiromani Akali Dal’s term that the cartel was unearthed, the police submitted, seeking his custody. The SIT also said incriminating material had come on record against Majithia.
While giving interim protection to Majithia, the high court on January 10 directed that he will not leave the country and provide his mobile number to the SIT. He was also been asked to share with the SIT his live location through WhatsApp. The court directed him to appear before the SIT as and when required.
The NIA has arrested two accused in Jammu & Kashmir in the cross-LoC trade and terror funding case. Earlier, the NIA had conducted multiple raids across the Valley in the terror-funding case. NIA spokesman in a statement said that on Monday the NIA arrested two accused Tanveer Ahmad Wani of Achagoza, Rajpora, Pulwama and Peer Arshad Iqbal, alias Ashu of Khwaja Bagh, Baramulla.
With a day left for the start of the Amarnath Yatra, high-level security is in place across Jammu and Kashmir, especially in Kashmir valley, where foolproof security arrangements have been made for the peaceful conduct of the yatra, which is taking place after two years. Three-tier security will be in place for the entire yatra route, including the mountains in the south and central Kashmir.
Ahead of the annual Amarnath pilgrimage, the Jammu and Kashmir Police on Tuesday claimed to have solved recent blasts in Kotranka and Budhal areas of the Rajouri district with the arrest of two Lashkar operatives. The police have launched searches for Talib Shah. “A huge cache of explosive material, including five improvised explosive devices (IEDs), was recovered at the disclosure of the LeT operatives”, additional director general of police (ADGP), Mukesh Singh said.
Union minister of state for women and child development Dr Mahendra Munjapara on Tuesday said cash incentives given to pregnant women under the Pradhan Mantri Matritva Vandana Yojana will now be given in two instalments instead of three, and women will also be given a cash incentive of ₹6,000 on the birth of a second girl child.
Two suspected overground workers (OGWs) of militants were on Tuesday shot dead by the Army near the Line of Control (LoC) in Kupwara district of Jammu and Kashmir, police said. Police say weapons and narcotics were recovered from the slain persons. They are believed to have come to receive a cache of arms and narcotics and facilitate infiltration of militants, they said.