The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday asked the Special Task Force constituted by Punjab government to study a note prepared by a top Enforcement Directorate official on the alleged role of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Bikram Singh Majithia in an international drug racket. Even though the court has not referred to Majithia but lawyers repeatedly mentioned his name before the division bench of Justice Surya Kant and Justice Sudhir Mittal.
The court specifically asked STF head ADGP Harpreet Singh Sidhu to “mention about this aspect of the matter” in a status report to be submitted by him before the next date of hearing.
The note on Majithia’s alleged role in the so-called Bhola drug racket case was prepared by ED deputy director Niranjan Singh. He had submitted it before a division bench of the High Court in 2015. It was titled “brief note” in previous court records, Niranjan wrote it after summoning and examining Majithia in December 2014.
The court will now share it with the STF chief and the division bench has asked the STF to “proceed on the basis of the information” in the matter.
In the Bhola drug case, investigators believed that precursor chemicals (ephedrine and pseudoephedrine) and other ready-to-use rave party drugs were prepared in Punjab and then smuggled internationally to the United Kingdom, Canada, the Netherlands and other countries, since 2009.
In March 2013 when Fatehgarh Sahib police arrested an NRI, Anoop Singh Kahlon, and unearthed the racket. On Kahlon’s disclosure, police zeroed in on Arjuna awardee Punjab Police’s Deputy Superintendent of Police Jagdish Singh Bhola and arrested him from Panipat in November, 2013. As a fallout of Bhola’s interrogation, several FIRs were registered across Punjab.
After his arrest, Bhola was the first one to take Bikram Singh Majithia’s name in front of the mediapersons outside a courtroom in Fatehgarh Sahib where he was being produced. Majithia’s name later surfaced for his alleged links with a few NRIs who were subsequently arrested in connection with alleged drug smuggling cases.
The ED launched a probe into the money-laundering aspect linked with the synthetic drug smuggling cases. It was in December 2014 when ED first questioned Majithia at their headquarters in Jalandhar. Several other politicians and their kin were also questioned by the ED. These include Congress leaders Chaudhary Santokh Singh and Sarwan Singh Phillaur who switched to the Congress from the Akali Dal before the last elections.
Majithia was a Minister in the previous SAD-BJP government, holding several portfolios including Revenue, Information & Public Relations, and Non-Conventional Energy. He is Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal’s brother and was among the few Akali candidates who won in the 2017 Assembly elections.