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Punjab moves Supreme Court against bail to Sukhpal Singh Khaira

The Punjab Government has moved the Supreme Court challenging the Punjab and Haryana High Court’s order granting bail to Congress MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira in a case registered against him under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.

A Bench, led by Justice Bela M Trivedi — which briefly took up the Punjab Government’s petition against the January 4 order of the high court on Wednesday — posted it for hearing Thursday.

Senior advocate PS Patwalia, representing Khaira, questioned the urgency in the matter and said it was mentioned on Tuesday evening and got listed the very next day. The state government had malice against Khaira, he alleged.

On behalf of the Punjab Government, senior counsel Siddharth Luthra submitted it was listed following proper approval by the Registry.

As Patwalia said he had not been supplied a copy of the petition and that he needed time to make his submissions, Luthra submitted that the petition’s copy had been circulated.

Luthra contended that the bail order completely ignored Section 37 of NDPS Act which required the court to be satisfied that there were reasonable grounds for believing that the accused was not guilty of such offence and that he was not likely to commit any offence while on bail.

Before he could be released following the high court’s order granting him bail in the NDPS case, Khaira was arrested by the Punjab Police in a fresh case registered at Subhanpur police station on a complaint filed by the wife of a key witness in the 2015 drugs case, accusing him of criminal intimidation. However, he was granted bail by a Kapurthala court in the second case on January 15.

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