Ruchika M Khanna
Chandigarh, September 29
Congress MLA from Sukhpal Khaira had sought permission of the Special Court, Mohali, to travel abroad for treatment for cancer. The “fear of the MLA leaving the country and not coming back” is believed to be the reason why the special investigation team (SIT) acted promptly and arrested him in the 2015 drugs case.
khaira Had sought court’s permission
- Bholath MLA Sukhpal Khaira had sought permission of the Special Court, Mohali, in August to travel to the US and Canada for three months to seek treatment for cancer
- The “fear of the MLA leaving the country and not coming back” is believed to be the reason why the SIT acted promptly
Denying any political vendetta, a top government functionary told The Tribune that the SIT acted on its own in this case. Khaira, who was an AAP MLA in the last Vidhan Sabha and had rebelled against the party in 2018, has been a vocal critic of the AAP government.
“It was only after the MLA moved the court earlier this year, seeking discharge from the PMLA case registered against him, that the SIT took notice of the case and started following it in the court,” said the functionary.
Fazilka court gave liberty to probe agencies
On April 13, the Special Court, Fazilka, disposed of an application filed by Khaira and another accused seeking to drop proceedings against them under the NDPS Act and Arms Act. The court gave liberty to the investigating agencies to pursue the case against the accused if they found any evidence in the future.
Documents available with The Tribune show that the MLA had sought permission of Additional Sessions Judge Avtar Singh in August to travel abroad for three months to the US and Canada, in order to seek treatment for cancer. Khaira’s son Mehtab Singh Khaira confirmed to The Tribune that his father had malignant prostrate cancer and wanted to travel abroad to seek advanced treatment.
The court had asked the MLA, through his counsel, to submit his itinerary for travel and letter of appointment from the doctor where he wished to seek treatment. During subsequent hearings — on September 19, September 20 and September 25 — the court asked him to submit the same and his passport and visa up to September 30. In fact, on September 20, the court dismissed Khaira’s application for discharge from the money laundering case. The next date of hearing was kept on September 30.
Mehtab said they had sought permission to travel for three months, but were getting permission for only 12 days — from October 18- 30. “The doctor’s appointment was for August, which we had missed. Also, a three month treatment was needed, but were getting permission to travel for only 12 days. Before we could submit the documents sought by the court in this regard, on the next date of hearing on September 30, he was arrested,” he said.
Khaira was booked on charges of money laundering (under section 3 punishable under section 4 of PMLA Act, 2002) in 2021 and was arrested in November 2021.
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