In an interim relief to Punjab’s Leader of Opposition, Sukhpal Singh Khaira, in a drug smuggling case, the Punjab and Haryana High Court Monday stayed the non-bailable warrant issued against him by the Fazilka court and issued a notice to the state government for a response on the plea seeking quashing of his summoning in the case.
The High Court bench of Justice A B Chaudhary listed the case for final hearing on November 9 after granting the stay on Khaira’s non-bailable warrant in the case. The Aam Aadmi Party leader had on Friday approached the High Court against the summons issued to him by the Additional Sessions Judge, Fazilka, as an additional accused in the 2015 case.
“There were many people who were campaigning against me. I am sure they would be ashamed now. People from all the parties, including some from my own, were part of the campaign and were directly playing into the hands of the current government,” Khaira said, while addressing the reporters after the hearing.
Khaira in his plea before the High Court has claimed the summoning order issued to him is a “classical instance of political vendetta” to rope him in the case as an accused to “tarnish his reputation and public perception”.
His counsels told the court that the Khaira had been summoned after the trial had already been completed with conviction of the accused.
Khaira has been summoned as an additional accused in the 2015 case registered under various sections of the NDPS Act, on the basis of statements made by three witnesses, all of who are police officials.
Khaira, in the petition, said that the continuation of the proceedings in the trial case would be “gross abuse of the process of court as well as travesty of the law”. Stating that no offense had been committed by him, Khaira argued that he was being victimised only because he has been “vociferous, fearless and independent” as the Leader of Opposition in the state.
“…With a view to harass him (Khaira), police officials have been recalled at a belated stage and compelled to depose against him, who had earlier not testified against the petitioner,” claimed the plea before HC.
Shiromani Akali Dal, meanwhile, said that Khaira “did not have any locus standi to continue as leader of opposition with the High Court refusing his plea to stay proceedings summoning him as an accused in an international drug racket case.”
In a statement here, SAD MPs Naresh Gujral and Prem Singh Chandumajra said: “With today’s developments in the high court it was clear that Sukhpal Khaira was an accused in a drug racket with Pakistani links….Instead of giving him any relief despite repeated and persistent pleas by his counsel, the High Court has asked him to appear in the Fazilka court as summoned on November 30. It has also facilitated his appearance in the court by directing that the non-bailable warrants issued against him should not be executed.”
26 Feb 2020
27 Feb 2020