Punjab Police SIT recommended summoning of Sukhpal Khaira in drug case | punjab | top | Hindustan Times
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Punjab Police SIT recommended summoning of Sukhpal Khaira in drug case

Khaira was never summoned in the case till October 31 this year, when the court of additional sessions judge, Fazilka, summoned him under Section 319 of CrPC.

punjab Updated: Nov 26, 2017 22:56 IST
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Sukhpal Khaira,drug case,Punjab police
Leader of Opposition in Punjab assembly Sukhpal Singh Khaira (HT File)

The special investigating team (SIT) formed by the Punjab Police to investigate the drug case in which leader of Opposition in Punjab assembly Sukhpal Singh Khaira has been summoned by a Fazilka court had recommended questioning of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader. The case of drug smuggling from India-Pakistan border revolved around Khaira’s close aide Gurdev Singh.

Khaira was never summoned in the case till October 31 this year, when the court of additional sessions judge, Fazilka, summoned him under Section 319 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) after awarding sentence to all ten accused, including Gurdev Singh.

The SIT report, a copy of which is with Hindustan Times, had raised strong questions over Khaira’s role stating that during his campaign in 2012 assembly polls, Gurdev, who was chairman of Dhilwan market committee in Bholath constituency, used to manage funds for campaign in ten villages.

“Perhaps due to this reason, Gurdev was indulging in drug and narcotic trade without any fear as he felt assured that in case of any difficulty or involvement in any criminal activity, he will be protected by Khaira with whom he had very close relations,” submitted the SIT, headed by then deputy inspector general (DIG), Ferozepur, AS Chahal.

The Fazilka SSP and SP (detective) were the other two members of the SIT formed on March 9, 2015 by then IG Bathinda Parmjit Singh Umranangal after Khaira’s name cropped up in the case following the arrest of Gurdev and ten other accused.

Gurdev, who was arrested by Fazilka police with 1.8 kg heroin, 24 gold biscuits, one country-made pistol and 2 Pakistani SIMs, was sentenced to 20-year imprisonment in the case by the Fazilka court. He was accused of smuggling heroin by using his Tata Safari car.

The SIT claimed that Dara Singh, a notorious drug racketeer based in Canada, had also figured in the nexus run by Gurdev.

GAVE KHAIRA RS 1 LAKH FROM DRUG MONEY: ACCUSED

HT has also accessed the case dairy of the police in which Gurdev has stated that he gave Rs 1 lakh from the drug money as election fund to Khaira.

Proper examination of Khaira is required to understand and unravel the working of Dara’s cartel and the linkages between that cartel and the one run by Gurdev, recommended the SIT.

Accusing Khaira of making efforts to save Gurdev, SIT also found that when police was hunting for Gurdev, Khaira directed Gurdev’s UK-based sister Charanjit Kaur that she should talk to him on the mobile phone of his personal security officer (PSO) Joga Singh. Charanjit told her brother that Khaira wanted him to remain underground “till things are settled”.

When the police raided house of Baljit Kaur, Gurdev’s second sister based in Delhi, she told the police party that “Khaira Bhaji must have given a telephonic call to the police with regard to his brother”. She boasted that Khaira would take care of this case and it would be brushed under the table, reads the SIT report which claims to have a record of 65 telephone calls made between Khaira, Gurdev, Charanjit Kaur, Khaira’s PSO Joga Singh and Khaira’s PA Manish Kumar.

When on the run, Gurdev spoke to Khaira five times and Charanjit Kaur called Khaira 15 times from UK. Khaira has also been accused of calling police officers to portray Gurdev as innocent.

THE POLICE ROLE

The duly-signed SIT report is not having any date, and when HT talked to senior police officials involved in the case, they did not divulge anything.

SIT head AS Chahal, who is a DIG rank officer, said he could not recollect any details. “It’s a two-year-old matter and I am in Gujarat for poll duty.”

Umranangal, who had formed the SIT, also passed the buck on the issue. “I got transferred as IG Bathinda after the case and as far as I know, the SIT report was submitted when Jitender Jain replaced me as IG,” he said.

Jain, however, denied Umranangal’s claim. “SIT report was never submitted to me,” he said.

Interestingly, what has further raised strong doubts over police officials in the case is the fact that the SIT report was never made part of the challan filed in the case in which Gurdev and nine others were awarded imprisonment.

The challan was filed on September 6, 2015 and the SIT report, according to sources, came after March 2016. Still no effort was made by the police to make it as part of court proceedings. Who sat on the file of SIT report, that too when Shiromani Akali Dal was in power, is a big mystery.

An after-thought to fix me: Khaira

Khaira, when contacted, claimed that SIT report was an afterthought. “This is what I have been claiming. When SIT recommended my questioning why I was not asked to appear before the police. Why SIT report was not made part of the challan or subsequent challan was not filed,” he questioned.

Khaira said the SIT report must have been prepared recently to fix him in the case. “Punjab Police has the best track record in fixing people and has zero credibility in investigating sensitive cases,” he said while rubbishing the SIT findings as a trash.

Over receiving election funds from drug case accused Gurdev, Khaira said Gurdev was never involved in drug trade as per police findings in 2012.

5 questions that beg answers

1. Why Khaira was not summoned in the drug case even after the SIT recommendation?

2. Why the SIT report was not attached with the court case or made part of the challan?

3. Who dumped the SIT findings under the SAD-BJP regime, which was desperate to raise questions over Khaira?

4. Why Khaira was summoned in the case only after the court convicted his aide and other accused in the case?

5. Why public prosecutor in the case never asked for the SIT report during the trial for more than two years?

First Published: Nov 26, 2017 22:54 IST