A fresh summons was issued against Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA and Leader of Opposition in Punjab Assembly, Sukhpal Singh Khaira by a court in Fazilka district on Thursday after the leader failed to appear for the court proceedings
A fresh summons was issued against Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA and Leader of Opposition in Punjab Assembly, Sukhpal Singh Khaira by a court in Fazilka district on Thursday after the leader failed to appear for the court proceedings. Khaira is facing trial in a trans-border drugs smuggling case. According to reports, Khaira’s plea that challenged the summons by the trial court issued to him for an appearance on November 30 were turned down by the Punjab and Haryana High Court on November 17. However, the court had cancelled the non-bailable warrants issued against him by the court in Fazilka district and further directed it to decide the matter on merit.
The summons issued to Khaira came as a setback for the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP, that had fought the Assembly elections earlier this year on the anti-drugs plank, and it also resulted in sharp attacks from the SAD, Congress and BJP. While the AAP’s Delhi leadership has maintained silence over the summons to Khaira, Punjab leaders have sided with him. State president Bhagwant Mann and co-president Aman Arora even issued statements in favour of Khaira.
Khaira along with 4 others were issued summons by Sandeep Singh Jossan, the Additional District and Session judge, Fazilka and he further asked them to appear on December 21 to record their statements in the case under the NDPS Act. Others who were issued summons were Khaira’s 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). After Khaira failed to be present in the court on November 30, the summon was issued against him under section 319 of the CrPC (power to proceed against other persons appearing to be guilty of an offence) following an application from the prosecution, PTI reported.
Earlier on October 31, the Fazilka court had sentenced nine people to imprisonment in the trans-border heroin smuggling racket which surfaced in 2015. AAP leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira had then moved the High Court on November 3 against the Fazilka court’s order. Khaira along with the Aam Aadmi Party had alleged that the case was an instance of political vendetta. The convicts were arrested by the police on March 9, 2015, along with 2-kg heroin, 24 gold biscuits, one country-made pistol, two Pakistani SIM cards and an SUV.