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CJI Ramana expresses displeasure, doubt over criminal cases against candidates ahead of election

The CJI noted, another case was also mentioned in morning by Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi by another election candidate seeking protection in a FIR registered against him. 

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“This is a sorry state of affairs,” said Supreme Court CJI N.V. Ramana while expressing displeasure over the registration of cases against candidates ahead of the Punjab Assembly Elections 2022. 

The Court’s remark came while it was hearing the anticipatory bail application filed by Shiromani Akali Dal leader Bikram Majithia in an alleged drug case. However, the Court has granted interim protection from arrest to Majithia till February 23 stating it is sorry that these things are happening in a democracy. 

CJI Ramana noted another case was also mentioned in morning by Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi by another election candidate seeking protection in a FIR registered against him. 

“Today, this morning there is a mentioning for another MLA against a FIR registered by the State. This is sorry state of affairs. We are sorry to say that these things happen in a democracy. Suddenly these criminal cases coming out just before the elections. We are not saying that State should fold its hand and don’t investigate drug mafia. Let him contest this election,” said the CJI. 

“Heard the counsels, we are protecting the petitioner from arrest till 23/02/2022, on this day the petitioner has to appeared before the trial Court to apply for regular bail,” noted the bench in its order which also comprised of Justices A.S. Bopanna and Hima Kohli. 

During the hearing today Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi apprised the bench that this is a classic case of political vendetta. He has never indulged in drugs etc. The FIR is registered on 20/12/2021. 

CJI NV Ramana said, “I will tell the story of the case. In 2013, the High Court had registered a Suo Motu to investigate the case. In 2014, some accused were arrested. One of the accused Bhola made a statement against the petitioner, later changed the statement. In 2017, after the change of the government, it appointed another Special Task Force (STF) To investigate. In 2017-2018, the ED recorded statements in PMLA case. Later the HC opened the STF report. It constituted the Committee. There were some reports in the newspaper too. The petitioner has also filed a defamation suit against the newspaper. On those basis the FIR get registered against him, This is the sum and substance of the FIR. 

Not even a single piece of evidence against Majithia: Rohatgi

Rohatgi replied the DGP writes a letter 20/12/2021, please find the copy of the order of the undersigned and register a case on the basis of the report of STF filed in the Court. The same is pending in the high court. From 2018, till the FIR registration the STF never examined me. I am not named anywhere in the case. This FIR is registered before one month of the 2022 assembly polls. “You are hounding a person, can they show even a single piece of evidence against my client. A man who has a clean record now being hounded in this fashion,” argued Rohatgi. 

Gross case of international drug racket: Punjab tells SC

Senior Advocate P. Chidambaram, appearing on behalf of the State of Punjab, has submitted that this is a gross case of international drug racket. “Finally, this investigation is moving. There are three persons in Canada who are involved in the crime. There are statements recorded saying that he received money for his elections. We have summoned persons who are in India in connection to this. We have to confront them with Majithia’s statement. In fact today, Punjab is sinking under the drug trade. The future of Punjab is damned and I am sorry to use this word. In a matter like this, I required the custodial interrogation of this man.” 

Sorry state of affairs: Supreme Court over registration of FIRs ahead of Punjab Assembly Polls 2022

CJI said, today this morning there is a mentioning for another MLA. This is Sorry state of affairs. We are sorry to say that these things happening in a democracy. At least allow candidates to file nomination and  contest elections. Suddenly these criminal cases coming out just before the elections. We are not saying that State should fold his hand and don’t investigate drug mafia. Let him contest this election. 

Rohatgi: There is not a word of fact what Mr Chidambaram is stating. 

CJI: This is a emergency situation and you are a contesting candidate. 

The Supreme Court ordered, “Heard the counsels, we are protecting the petitioner from arrest till 23/02/2022, on this day the petitioner has to appear before the trial court to apply for regular bail. The same may be considered in accordance with law.” 

CJI: Mr Chidambaram, you have to instruct your client (State of Punjab), impression should not get to us that its pre-polls actions are political motivated. 

Chidambaram replied: This case has a long history. In any other cases, I will instruct State about cases related to political vendetta, to refrain itself. 

The Supreme Court last week had granted protection from arrest to Majithia, accused under the provisions of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, till January 31. 

Majithia was apprehending arrest after a case under the provisions of the NDPS Act was registered against him at Mohali on December 20 last year.

Majithia had moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court after a Mohali court dismissed his anticipatory bail petition. He approached the Apex Court, after the High Court dismissed the same.

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