Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, December 21
The drugs case registered against ex-Akali minister Bikram Singh Majithia carries direct imprints of investigation and analysis by incumbent DGP Siddharth Chattopadhyaya, Special Task Force (STF) chief Harpreet Singh Sidhu and Advocate General Deepinder Singh Patwalia.
The onus of taking the case to conviction will be on these three officials, as the FIR mentions their viewpoint and findings repeatedly.
The FIR is based on Sidhu’s status report on drugs charges against politicians and some cops submitted in the Punjab and Haryana High Court in February 2018. Nearly 40 pages of the 49-page FIR include the STF report only. This is the first time the status report has gone public. Chattopadhyaya took the final decision to order the FIR despite opposition by the head of the state Bureau of Investigation (BoI) and police officials of Patiala. Besides, two of his predecessors had not agreed to issuing such orders. The decision may prove crucial for the ruling Congress government ahead of the Assembly polls.
Chattopadhyaya, who is the officiating DGP, ordered the registration of the FIR just four days after he was given the charge of the head of the state police force. Also, the FIR was lodged on the eve of a crucial meeting of the Union Public Service Commission to decide on a panel of a regular DGP of the state.
Weeks before the FIR, there were counter viewpoints on whether the government had legal power to proceed against Majithia. The registration of the case seems a political necessity as a group of Congress leaders led by Navjot Singh Sidhu had toppled the Capt Amarinder Singh government alleging that he was not acting against Majithia.
Advocate General Deepinder Singh Patwalia has the legal sanction for the FIR. He states in the FIR that there was no embargo on law enforcement agencies to act on the prime facie findings regarding drugs smuggling as mentioned in the status report on drugs filed by the STF in February 2018.
His stand is in contrast to report of BoI head SK Asthana, who said there were legal hurdles in the way.
After raising the flag against the registration of the case, Asthana proceeded on medical leave. His deputy and officiating head of the BoI IG Gautam Cheema filed the FIR as per the orders of the DGP.
Interestingly, Patwalia had submitted his legal opinion on December 1 when DGP Iqbal Preet Singh Sahota was heading the state police force, allowing the registration of the case. The government replaced Sahota with Chattopadhyaya.
The FIR says the fresh case is lodged on analysis of various FIRs against international drug smugglers booked earlier in Patiala and Fatehgarh Sahib. The analysis was based on four points mentioned in the status report of the STF. This is the first time the status report on drugs is made public through the FIR.
49-page FIR against akali leader says…
Did Majithia have an association with drug smugglers Satpreet Singh alias Satta, Maninder Singh Aulakh alias Bittu Aulakh, Parminder Singh alias Pindi, Amrinder Singh alias Laddi and Jagjit Chahal?
“Taking into account the entire statements of Majithia and others that he knew Satta well and Satta resided with him, indicates that the allegations of providing vehicles, security, etc. as well as involvement of Satta during elections of Majithia, are believable.
Were Satta, Chahal, Aulakh, Pindi and Laddi involved in drug trade?
The analysis of statements recorded by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Punjab Police reveal that Jagdish Singh alias Bhola was allegedly involved in the drug trade in association with Chahal, Aulakh, Laddi, Pindi and Satta.
Majithia played a role in supplying pseudoephedrine to Satta and others?
It emerges from the record of statements of the ED that Majithia directly asked Chahal to supply pseudoephedrine to Satta and Pindi. Majithia also made a similar arrangement with Chahal through Aulakh.
Whether there are any links regarding monetary transaction of Majithia with the accused?
Evaluation of the statements of Chahal before the ED reveals that Rs 35 lakh were allegedly paid to Majithia in 7-8 instalments between 2007 and 2012 as he needed funds for elections. At this time, Chahal was allegedly involved in manufacturing/ supply of illegal drugs/ substances.