Former Akali minister named in drug racket, will Majithia be the next?

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Will former Punjab revenue minister Bikram Majithia, who was questioned by the Enforcement Directorate in 2014 for his alleged role in Punjab’s biggest-ever synthetic drug racket of Rs 6,000 crore unearthed in 2013, be now put in the dock?

In its fifth supplementary chargesheet in the drug racket, the Enforcement Directorate on Wednesday named former Akali minister Swarn Singh Phillaur, his son Damanvir and former chief parliamentary secretary Avinash Chander. Since Phillaur and his son are the first political persons to be named in the chargesheet, will Majithia be the next?

As per the chargesheet, while Phillaur and his son allegedly laundered around Rs 5 crore from the drug trade, Avinash Chander also received Rs 45 lakh. The synthetic drug racket was unearthed in March 2013 when the Fatehgarh Sahib police arrested Canada- based NRI Anoop Singh Kahlon and his aide Kulwinder Singh and recovered 26 kg heroin from them. The police also nabbed another Canada-based NRI Manpreet Singh alias Manni Gill and his relative Gabbar Singh and recover two kg of heroin and Rs 1 crore hawala cash from them. Further investigations led to the arrest of the alleged kingpin and dismissed Punjab Police DSP Jagdish Bhola.

Bhola revealed the alleged involvement of Majithia in the drug cartel while speaking to media persons outside the Mohali court in January 2014. Being the brother-in-law of Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal, Majithia was never interrogated by the police.

A probe by the special investigation (SIT) of the Punjab Police also gave a clean chit to Majithia. Sukhbir defended Majithia, alleging that Bhola named his brother-in-law in the drug racket at the instigation of the Congress. During the last Punjab election campaign, the alleged involvement of Majithia in the drug cartel became a big issue, with the Aam Aadmi Party promising to put him behind bars within days of coming to power.

Capt Amarinder Singh also promised to order a reinvestigation into the SIT clean chit to Majithia. But nothing has happened, though Capt Amarinder Singh has been the chief minister now for over three months.

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