The Supreme Court on Monday protected Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Bikram Singh Majithia from arrest in a drugs case till February 23.
A bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana told the Punjab government counsel to advise his government to refrain from launching criminal cases against the political opponents, just before the election. The top court directed Majithia to surrender on February 24 before the trial court and seek regular bail.
Senior advocate P. Chidambaram, representing the Punjab government, submitted before the bench, also comprising Justices A.S. Bopanna and Hima Kohli, that Punjab is sinking under drug trade and the youth are in danger. He added that it is a case of international drug racket and there have been money transactions, where Majithia mediated, and pressed for his custodial interrogation.
The Chief Justice told Chidambaram there is an allegation that it is a politically motivated case and asked, when will the elections get over? He pointed at a mentioning of another case of an MLA from Punjab, where he cited a case registered against him and claimed that he was not allowed to file nomination. The Chief Justice added that suddenly such cases come up before the election, and the court does not mean that the government should not crack down on the drug mafia.
“Let him file nomination and campaign, once it is over he will surrender before the police… and apply for regular bail”, said the bench.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, representing Majithia, submitted that for six years there were thorough probes and nothing was found against his client.
Majithia, the brother-n-law of SAD chief Sukhbir Badal, is in the fray for the February 20 assembly polls from Majitha, near Amritsar. He had moved the high court after a Mohali court dismissed his anticipatory bail petition in a case under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act registered on December 20.
In a 49-page FIR filed by the state police Crime Branch at the Mohali police station, the SAD leader has been booked under sections 25, 27A and 29 of the NDPS Act.