Supreme Court asks Punjab government not to arrest SAD's Bikram Singh Majithia in drugs case till 31 January
The court took note of the submissions of Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Majithia, that the plea seeking anticipatory bail plea needed urgent hearing as the accused has been facing ‘political vendetta’
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday orally asked the Punjab government not to take any coercive step against SAD leader Bikram Singh Majithia till 31 January, 2022, when it hears his pre-arrest bail plea in a drugs case.
A bench comprising Chief Justice N V Ramana and Justices A S Bopanna and Hima Kohli took note of the submissions of senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Majithia, that the plea seeking anticipatory bail plea needed urgent hearing as the accused has been facing "political vendetta".
This is political vendetta. He is called to police station. This is all due to the election fever", said Rohatgi while seeking urgent hearing of the plea of Majithia.
"Is it election fever or election virus. All are rushing to this court," the bench said.
The senior lawyer said the high court had granted protection from arrest while dismissing the anticipatory bail petition of Majithia to enable him to approach the apex court.
The Punjab police, which is aware of the fact that a plea has been filed in the apex court, is trying to arrest him, he said.
Senior advocate P Chidambaram, appearing for the Punjab government, said that Majithia has gone into hiding and now appearing here through the counsel.
"Is it fair Mr. Chidambaram, when you know that his petition is going to be listed, the CJI observed, adding, "Tell your government to not do anything. We will list on Monday."
The pre-arrest bail plea of Majithia, who was booked under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act on 20 December, 2021, was dismissed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court on 24 January, 2022, and an appeal has been filed in the apex court.
Prior to this, the high court on 10 January, 2022, had granted interim protection to Majithia from the arrest in the matter while directing him to join the investigation on 12 January, 2022.
It had also imposed some conditions, including not leaving the country, on the Akali leader.
The high court had extended the interim protection on 18 January, 2022.
Majithia, 46, had moved the high court seeking anticipatory bail after his plea was rejected by a Mohali court on 24 December, 2021.
Majithia is the brother-in-law of SAD leader Sukhbir Badal and the brother of former Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal.
The former Punjab minister was booked under the NDPS Act on the basis of a 2018 report of a probe into a drugs racket operating in the state.
The report was filed by the anti-drug special task force (STF) chief Harpreet Singh Sidhu in the Punjab and Haryana High Court in 2018.
The 49-page FIR in the matter was registered by the state Crime Branch at its Mohali police station.
Majithia was booked under sections 25 (punishment for allowing one's premises for its use for the commission of an offence), 27A (for financing sale, purchase, production, manufacture, possession, transportation, use or consumption, import and export or any act pertaining to narcotics) and 29 (abetting or plotting an offence) of the NDPS Act.
In his bail plea, the SAD leader had submitted that the Congress government in Punjab had "left no stone unturned to misuse its powers and position for wreaking vengeance upon its political opponents".
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