Chandigarh: In a recent development, Congress MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira has been sent to 14-day judicial custody by the court of Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate (SDJM), Rampal. This decision comes in connection with a 2015 drugs case. During the court hearing, the police had requested a 10-day remand for Khaira, but this request was denied, and he was instead sent to Muktsar jail.
Khaira was brought to the court in Jalalabad amid tight security, as a large number of his supporters had gathered outside the court's main entrance. To avoid any potential disturbances, he was taken into the court through the rear gate and later exited from the same gate. Khaira's next court appearance is scheduled for October 13. The police had expressed their intention to interrogate Khaira and Kashmir Singh, another accused in the 2015 drug seizure case, through cross-examination after obtaining a production warrant for Kashmir, who is currently incarcerated in Kapurthala jail. It's worth noting that Kashmir Singh was one of the nine accused individuals sentenced to 20 years in jail on October 31, 2017, in connection with the same case.
Sources have revealed that the police wanted to examine Khaira's mobile phone records, as he had reportedly changed phones five times in the past eight years. The Special Investigation Team (SIT) responsible for the case, headed by DIG Swapan Sharma of Jalandhar range, and with SP(D) Manjit Singh of Fazilka as another member, has been actively involved in the investigation. The SIT was formed in April 2023, leading to Khaira's arrest from his Chandigarh residence on Thursday. Several prominent political figures, including former Congress MLAs Kulbir Zira, Devinder Ghubaya, Pargat Singh, Sukhwinder Singh Kotli, and former Ferozepur MP Sher Singh Ghubaya, were present outside the court during the hearing.
In response to the developments, Partap Singh Bajwa, Leader of Opposition in the assembly, expressed his faith in the Indian judicial system and stated that he expects justice to prevail. He also criticized the Punjab government, expressing confidence that the INC (Indian National Congress) family in Punjab would support Sukhpal Khaira and his family. After the court hearing, Sukhpal Khaira's son, Mehtab Singh Khaira, commented on the situation. He mentioned that the Punjab Police had requested a 10-day remand to check phone call records dating back to 2015. Mehtab asserted that they already possessed these details and would present the proof in the next hearing. He considered the denial of the police remand request as their initial victory and expressed gratitude for the support they had received.
The 2015 drugs case was registered in March 2015 in Jalalabad, Fazilka. Nine individuals, including Gurdev Singh, allegedly a close associate of Khaira, were initially booked in the case and later convicted under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.