SC gives six weeks to govt to file response to Khaira’s plea
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday gave six weeks to the state government to respond to state Leader of Opposition and AAP leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira’s plea against a Fazilka court order summoning him in a drug Smuggling case. In a relief to Khaira, a Bench headed by Justice NV Ramana had on December 1 stayed the summons and issued notice to the Punjab government. On Friday, it gave six weeks to the state after its counsel sought time to file its reply. It gave two weeks to Khaira to file his rejoinder to the state’s reply. Terming the case a result of “political vendetta”, Khaira had challenged a Punjab and Haryana High Court order rejecting his plea against the summons that required him to appear before the Fazilka court on December 21. “There shall be stay of further proceedings before the trial court,” the bench had said while issuing notice. The Fazilka court had initially issued a non-bailable warrant against the AAP leader in the March 2015 drug smuggling case. But the high court had quashed the NBW and asked the Fazilka court to decide the case on merit. But his plea for quashing of summons was rejected by the HC. After that the Fazilka court had on November 30 issued fresh summonses to Khaira and four other accused asking them to appear before it on December 21 to record their statements under the NDPS Act. Others summoned by the trial court were Khaira’s personal security officer (PSO) Joga Singh; personal assistant Manish, Charanjit Kaur a resident of Bath village in Jalandhar and Major Singh Bajwa of Bajwa Kalan village in Jalandhar. The Fazilka court had on October 31 sentenced nine people to imprisonment in the trans-border heroin smuggling racket which had surfaced in 2015. It had earlier issued summons to Khaira for November 30 under Section 319 of the CrPC (power to proceed against other persons appearing to be guilty of offence) following an application from the prosecution. Khaira had then moved the High Court on November 3 against the Fazilka court’s order. Those convicted were arrested by the police on March 9, 2015, along with 2 kg of heroin, 24 gold biscuits; a country-made pistol, two Pakistani SIM cards and an SUW vehicle.
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