The Supreme Court on Monday pushed back the arrest of Shiromani Akali Dal leader Bikram Singh Majithia in a drug case until February 23, citing the upcoming Punjab assembly elections on February 20. This relief was granted by the court to allow Majithia to campaign for the election. The bench expressed concern during the hearing about the recent trend of criminal cases being filed against political opponents in the run-up to elections.
Majithia’s lawyer, Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, argued that this was a “classical case of political vendetta.” He noted that the FIR was filed on December 20, 2021, on the Acting DGP’s orders, and that it covered crimes committed between 2004 and 2015. The DGP’s letter referred to a Special Task Force report, the veracity of which is being investigated by the Punjab and Haryana High Court’s High Powered Committee.
He claimed that the STF’s leader is a distant relative of Majithia’s. Rohatgi also claimed that when he was questioned, he was asked “ridiculous questions” like why his wife didn’t take his surname. He was also asked to submit his wedding album.
“Punjab is sinking under drug trade,” Chidambaram said, “and unless a strong message is sent, the State’s youth will be doomed.”
Majithia has petitioned the Supreme Court to overturn a single bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court’s January 24 order denying him pre-arrest bail in connection with an NDPS case. It should be noted that the Punjab and Haryana High Court granted him interim protection from arrest in the Drugs Case on the condition that he cooperate with the police investigation on January 10.
The Punjab Police had filed an anticipatory bail application against him last month under Sections 25 (allowing premises to be used for commission of an offence under the Act), 27A (financing illicit traffic and harbouring offenders), and 29 (abetment and criminal conspiracy) of the Narcotic Drugs And Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.
The FIR against Majithia (46) was “politically motivated,” according to him, and must be viewed in the context of the upcoming Punjab Assembly elections. Bikram Singh Majithia, the Shiromani Akali Dal’s general secretary, is Sukhbir Singh Badal’s brother-in-law and brother-in-law of former Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal.
The petition by Simarjeet Singh Bains, a two-time MLA from Atam Nagar (Ludhiana) and president of Lok Insaaf Party (LIP), will be heard on Tuesday.