Congress MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira sent to 14-day judicial custody in 2015 drug case

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FAZILLA (Punjab): A Punjab court here on Saturday sent Congress MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira to 14-day judicial custody in connection with a 2015 drugs case.

Khaira’s counsel Nitin Madha told ANI that the Bholath MLA was produced in the court by Punjab Police who requested another remand of seven days.

“The police demanded a 7-day remand. After seeing the police’s evidence, the judge turned down their request. The court sent him to judicial remand of 14 days,” the counsel said.

Congress MLA Khaira was arrested from his Chandigarh residence on Thursday morning in connection with an old case registered in 2015 under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.

The Aam Aadmi Party and Congress– members of the opposition’s INDIA bloc– have been at loggerheads in the border state over the arrest of Khaira.

While the Congress is calling it vindictive politics of AAP, the ruling party is terming the development as part of their “zero-tolerance policy” against drugs.

Earlier in 2015, there were two cases originated with the unearthing of a cross-border drug smuggling network in Fazilka, Punjab, leading to the seizure of heroin, gold biscuits, weapons, cartridges, and Pakistani SIM cards and the second of a fake passport racket being run in Delhi.

As the trial went on, nine smugglers, including Gurdev Singh, Manjit Singh, Harbans Singh, and Subhash Chander, were sentenced in October 2017 in connection with the Fazilka case.

As per the chargesheet, Khaira was closely associated with Gurdev Singh, the leader of the Fazilka drug smuggling racket, and is accused of having sheltered him.

The primary accusations against Khaira include supporting an international gang of smugglers, having sheltered him and receiving financial benefits from drug traffickers, and enjoying the proceeds of crime.

On February 16, 2023, a Supreme Court bench of Justices BR Gavai and Vikram Nath quashed the summoning order against Khaira in the drugs case.

The arrest of Sukhpal Khaira is expected to further dent the relations of AAP and the Congress which have come together to form the INDIA alliance at the centre. The state unit of the Congress has opposed any tie-up or seat-sharing arrangement with the AAP in Punjab. (ANI)

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