HC seeks report from Centre on extradition of ‘drug lords’

The Punjab and Haryana high court has sought a status report from the Centre on the extradition of alleged drug lords, who are sitting abroad and are wanted in Punjab.

The report was sought by the special division bench of justice AG Masih and justice Sandeep Moudgil during the hearing of a 2013 suo motu plea on Punjab’s drugs menace. The status report has been sought within three weeks, while the case will be taken up for further hearing on July 7.

In a status report submitted in November 2021, the Centre had said that eight extradition requests were pending before the Canadian authorities. Those against whom extradition requests were stated to be pending are Ranjit Singh Aujla, Gursewak Singh Dhillon, Nirankar Singh Dhillon, Sarabjit Singh Sander, Lehmbar Singh Daleh, Amarjit Singh Kooner, Pardeep Singh Dhaliwal and Amrinder Singh Chheena. Proceedings in one case were pending before Narcotics Control Bureau. All of these accused persons are wanted in 2013 FIRs, registered after a major drugs racket was busted in Punjab — known as Jagdish Bhola drugs racket.

Expresses concern over narco recoveries on borders

The high court also expressed concern over huge recoveries of drugs on borders with neighbouring countries. “It goes without saying that there have been huge recoveries of drugs not only in Punjab and Haryana but at the international borders with the neighbouring countries. Effective steps should and need to be taken to ensure that cross-border trade and supply of drugs do not take place. It needs to be curtailed and the steps taken in this regard should also be highlighted,” the bench said, seeking a report from the Centre with regard to the fresh steps taken, so that increasing menace of cross-border smuggling of drugs is controlled.

‘List out steps taken to curtail menace’

The court expressed its unhappiness over a report submitted by the Punjab Police in which it had only listed out status of investigation of cases being probed by the special task force.

Nothing has been reflected as regards to the actual steps taken at the ground level to curtail the drugs menace in Punjab, the bench added, further observing that over a period of time, various orders have been passed by the court, calling upon the states to respond and deal with not only the aspect of drug menace but its control as also the remedial steps to be taken, including the rehabilitation of the victims and the addicts.

“Certain rehabilitation homes were sought to be opened. The details of rehabilitation homes, staff deputed, persons admitted and the treatment provided to them need to be detailed and brought to the notice of this court, especially of the last three years,” the bench said, seeking year-wise data showing actual steps taken at the ground level for not only treating the victims/addicts but for their rehabilitation.

The bench further observed that various schemes have been initiated on treatment and rehabilitation of addicts but their implementation is not projected. The same should be detailed before the court, it added.

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