The Supreme Court today granted relief to AAP leader and Punjab's Leader of Opposition Sukhpal Singh Khaira by staying the proceedings before a trial court in a 2015 trans-border drug smuggling case. A court in Fazilka, Punjab had issued fresh summons on November 30 to Khaira to appear on December 21 in the case. A bench of Justices N V Ramana and S Abdul Nazeer issued notice on Khaira's plea challenging the verdict of Punjab and Haryana High Court, which had dismissed his petition to quash the summons. "Issue notice to the standing counsel for the State of Punjab. There shall be stay of further proceedings before the trial court," the bench said. The Fazilka court had earlier issued a non-bailable warrant against Khaira in the drug case, following which he had moved the high court which had quashed the warrant and directed the trial court to decide the matter on merit. However, his plea seeking to quash the trial court summons was rejected by the high court on November 17, with AAP leader saying it was a case of political vendetta. On November 30, Fazilka court had issued fresh summons to Khaira and four other accused asking them to appear on December 21 to record their statements under the NDPS Act. Others who were issued summons were Khaira's personal security officer (PSO) Joga Singh, personal assistant Manish, Charanjit Kaur, a resident of Bath village (Jalandhar), and Major Singh Bajwa of Bajwa Kalan village (Jalandhar). The Fazilka court had on October 31 sentenced nine persons to imprisonment in the trans-border heroin smuggling racket which had surfaced in 2015. It had earlier issued summons to Khaira for November 30 under Section 319 of the CrPC (power to proceed against other persons appearing to be guilty of offence) following an application from the prosecution.
Khaira had then moved the High Court on November 3 against the Fazilka court's order. Those convicted were arrested by the police on March 9, 2015, along with 2 kgs of heroin, 24 gold biscuits, a country- made pistol, two Pakistani SIM cards and a SUV vehicle.
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