Millennium Post

Time to come clean?

There seems to be no way out for Punjab Revenue Minister Bikram Singh Majithia, brother-in-law of Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, in the Rs 6,000-crore synthetic drug racket case. Key accused Jagjit Singh Chahal has reportedly confessed to the authorities that he had given Rs 35 lakh as election funds to Majithia between 2007 and 2012. Arrested by the Punjab police in 2013, Chahal, who owns a pharmaceutical company, is currently out on bail. His statement is part of the charge-sheet filed in a Patiala court on March 3 by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). Chahal’s allegation follows criminal mastermind Jagdish Bhola’s confession that Majithia had played a key role in the synthetic drug racket.

After Bhola’s confession, the ED had summoned Majithia in December last year and questioned him for close to four hours. However, when Enforcement Directorate Assistant Director Niranjan Singh, the lead investigator in the case, was transferred to Kolkata, questions began to emerge about the intent of both the state government and Centre. In a huge embarrassment to the central government and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-led Punjab government, though, the Punjab and Haryana High Court put the transfer on hold. Ahead of the budget session in Punjab assembly, these allegations have created a storm.

A survey by the Narcotics Control Bureau has stated that a steady supply from across Punjab’s borders is making it next to impossible for state and central agencies to tackle the menace of drug addiction. Among some of the well-known circumstances behind the ever increasing drug trade in Punjab is a thriving smuggler-police-politician nexus. Alleged donations to Majithia’s political campaigns have only added more ammunition to those who believe that such a nexus exists. It is time that the Punjab government came clean on the matter.
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