New Delhi, Aug 22: The Punjab police seem to be making no efforts to get the extradition of three Canadians of Punjabi-origin accused in a fresh FIR registered in the multi-crore drug trafficking scandal allegedly involving senior Akali leader and former Punjab Revenue Minister Bikram Singh Majithia.
The FIR is in continuation of investigations into the notorious Jagdish Bhola drug case linked to the minister.
Majithia, who was arrested in the case, has only recently been released form Patiala jail after he was granted bail by the High Court.
FIR number 2 registered on December 20, 2021, at Mohali Police Station Crime (Bureau of Investigation), repeatedly refers to the dubious role of Parminder Singh alias Pindi, Satpreet Singh alias Satta, and Amarinder Singh alias Laddi. All of them reside in Canada, which requires them to be extradited to face the law in India.
Though eight months have passed since the FIR was registered against Majithia and the three Canadians, the police have not obtained their arrest warrants from the court nor have red-corner notices been issued to Interpol to arrest them. The extradition process cannot be initiated without these legal requirements.
A senior Punjab police officer connected with the case did not reply to a message sent to him by India Narrative on WhatsApp in this regard.
The Punjab Advocate General’s office told India Narrative that initiating the extradition process is the responsibility of the police which is the prosecuting agency.
The three Canadians accused in the drug trafficking case whose extradition is required in view of the 2021 FIR are in addition to nine other Canadians against whom the extradition process was launched but has been held up since 2017 as the Punjab police his holding back key information from the Canadian authorities.
As reported by India Narrative on August 17, this information is required under Canada’s law for the extradition to take place.
The Punjab police relied on the confessional statements of Jagjit Singh Chahal, Jagdish Bhola, and Maninder Singh Aulakh as recorded by the Enforcement Directorate under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, (PMLA) 2002. Separate proceedings are going on against all these three accused.
They had disclosed that the international drug traffickers Pinda, Satta, and Laddi were provided government vehicles by Majitha, the then Revenue Minister, Punjab. They used to stay at the different residences of Majithia and travelled in his official vehicles.
However, the allegations were denied by Majithia when he moved his petition for bail in the High Court.
The state counsel informed the High Court that Laddi was declared a proclaimed offender (PO) on April 22, 2014, while Edmonton-based Pindi had been declared PO on August 16, 2014. Surprisingly, no action was earlier taken against Satta during the Badal-led Akali government or the Captain Amarinder Singh-led Congress for reasons best known to the police. Satta, for the first time, has been named in FIR number 2 of December 2021. A total of 7 FIRs have been registered in the drug scandal.
Navkiran Singh, a senior advocate, who as an intervenor before the High Court on behalf of Lawyers for Human Rights International (an independent organisation pursuing matters of public interest) seeking the extradition of NRIs involved in the Bhola drug racket says that the Punjab police have not been pursuing the matter to the satisfaction of Canadian authorities. This was evident from the status report filed in the High Court in July, by Sandeep Kumar, deputy secretary, ministry of external affairs (MEA).
According to the status report, the additional information sought by the Canadian DOJ regarding the extradition requests pertaining to 9 accused in the drug case, had not been replied to by the Punjab police since 2017.
He says Pindi, otherwise, would have been arrested by now in Canada. The extradition process, as per Canadian law, begins after the arrest of the accused. A judicial trial then follows in the court, adds Navkiran Singh.
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