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AAP leader Khaira skips court hearing in drug case; issued fresh summons

Sukhpal Singh Khaira’s name had cropped up in the case after the arrest of nine smugglers in Fazilka in 2015, with 2-kg heroin, 24 gold biscuits, one country-made pistol and two Pakistani SIM cards.

punjab Updated: Nov 30, 2017 18:28 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Sukhpal Khaira,Punjab news,drug case against khaira
Punjab leader of opposition Sukhpal Singh Khaira(HT File)

A local court on Thursday issued fresh summons for December 21 to Punjab leader of opposition Sukhpal Singh Khaira in a drug smuggling case after the senior Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader failed to appear before it.

The court of additional district and sessions judge Sandeep Singh Jossan also summoned, again, Khaira’s personal security officer Joga Singh; personal assistant Manish; UK-based Charanjit Kaur, a resident of Bath village (Jalandhar); and Major Singh Bajwa of Bajwa Kalan village (Jalandhar), after they too failed to appear.

Khaira’s name had cropped up in the case after the arrest of nine smugglers in Fazilka on March 9, 2015, with 2-kg heroin, 24 gold biscuits, one country-made pistol and two Pakistani SIM cards. According to the prosecution, his name had cropped up during the interrogation of these smugglers.

On October 31 this year, a Fazilka court sentenced them to imprisonment, ranging from three to 20 years, for trans-border heroin smuggling. The court had summoned Khaira and the others on November 30 and also issued non-bailable warrants in response to an application filed by additional public prosecutor Gurbhaj Singh under Section 319 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC). Later, on a plea by Khaira and others, the Punjab and Haryana high court had stayed the non-bailable warrants, but asked them to join trial.

After the summonses were issued, the issue went on to acquire political overtones with rival parties demanding Khaira’s resignation over his alleged links with convicted drug smugglers. Alleging political vendetta, Khaira refused to resign, arguing that other leaders had held on to their posts despite facing court cases.

The issue was raised even in the state assembly with the Vidhan Sabha, on Wednesday, passing a resolution condemning Lok Insaaf Party (LIP) MLAs Simarjeet Singh Bains and Balwinder Singh Bains for making “scandalous allegations” against a high court judge for “political purposes and vested motives”. At this, an emotionally charged Khaira had led a walkout of AAP and LIP members from the House.

First Published: Nov 30, 2017 18:27 IST