Relief after storm: SC stays Fazilka court summons to Khaira in drug case
Khaira’s lawyer said the argument raised before the Supreme Court was that after completion of trial, additional accused could not have been summoned.punjab Updated: Dec 01, 2017 22:07 IST
The Supreme Court on Friday granted relief to Punjab’s leader of opposition Sukhpal Singh Khaira of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) by staying the proceedings before a trial court in a 2015 trans-border drug smuggling case, in which nine people were convicted on October 31 but Khaira had been summoned as an additional accused.
The court in Fazilka had issued fresh summons on November 30 to Khaira to appear on December 21. The SC bench of justices NV Ramana and S Abdul Nazeer issued notice on Khaira’s plea challenging the order of the Punjab and Haryana high court, which had dismissed his petition to quash the summons. “Issue notice to the standing counsel for the state of Punjab,” the SC bench also said.
The high court had quashed the non-bailable warrants issued against Khaira, but not the summoning, and directed the trial court to decide the matter on merit.
Khaira has been alleging a political conspiracy behind the case, and that also led to a storm in the recent winter session of the Vidhan Sabha. Khaira used some abusive words against chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh and Congress, his former party, in a press conference during the session days.
The persons summoned with Khaira were his personal security officer (PSO) Joga Singh, personal assistant Manish; Charanjit Kaur, a resident of Bath village (Jalandhar); and Major Singh Bajwa of Bajwa Kalan village (Jalandhar).
Those already convicted were arrested by the police on March 9, 2015, along with 2 kg of heroin, 24 gold biscuits, a country-made pistol, two Pakistani SIM cards and an SUV; they were sentenced to 3-20 years in jail on October 31.
Khaira’s son and lawyer Mehtab Khaira told reporters that the argument raised before the SC was that an additional accused could not have been summoned after completion of trial.
Meanwhile, the HC deferred hearing for December 8 on an application moved by Khaira for restoration of his prayer for a CBI probe into the drug case. The petition was filed in May 2015, when his name cropped up in the investigation. However, it had been withdrawn in March this year.