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Supreme Court junks Punjab Govt plea against bail to MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira in 2015 drug case

The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to cancel the bail granted to Congress MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira by the Punjab and Haryana High Court in a 2015 drug case.

A Bench led by Justice Bela M Trivedi dismissed the Punjab Government’s special leave petition challenging the January 4 order of the high court granting bail to Khaira.

Noting that the allegations against Khaira were serious, the Bench, however, said it would not interfere with the high court’s order considering the facts and circumstances of the case.

“If Khaira was involved right from the beginning, why did you not include him in the chargesheet? He was only named as accused after the entire trial concluded,” Justice Trivedi asked senior counsel Siddharth Luthra, who represented the Punjab Government. The Bench also rejected the state government’s apprehensions about Khaira intimidating witnesses.

Contending that the Punjab and Haryana High Court did not consider all facts of the case, the Punjab Government had moved the Supreme Court challenging the high court’s order granting bail to Khaira in the case registered against him under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act.

Luthra said while the challenge to the summons under Section 319 of the CrPC was pending, the top court had stayed the proceedings against Khaira and the probe could not proceed further.

Khaira was represented by senior counsel PS Patwalia and advocate-on-record Nikhil Jain.

As Luthra asserted that further investigation was pending against Khaira and the state did not act against him out of deference to the top court, Justice Trivedi wondered if there was permission granted to the special judge to order further investigation.

“Sorry! The allegations are serious but given the facts and circumstances of the case, we are not inclined,” the Bench said, dismissing the Punjab Government’s petition.

Khaira, an MLA from the Bholath Assembly constituency, was arrested in September in connection with the 2015 case, triggering accusations of political vendetta against the state’s ruling AAP by the Congress.

The high court granted him bail on January 4 but before he could be released, Khaira was arrested by the Punjab Police in a fresh case registered at the 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.If Khaira was involved right from the beginning, why did you not include him in the chargesheet? — Justice Bela M Trivedi

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