The Punjab and Haryana High Court today sought information from the Union Ministry of External Affairs regarding the steps taken by it to bring back the suspects against whom red corner notices were issue in Punjab drug scam. The bench had directed the CBI officials who included the top officials of CBI Interpol wing, to appear before the court.
The bench, comprising Justice Surya Kant and Justice P.B. Bajanthri, asked the officials if the process of issuance of red corner notice served any purpose or was it is just sheer wastage of time. Responding the query, the officials claimed that it had arrested five persons this year after issuing the red corner notices.
The division bench also asked the CBI officials and the Punjab police to improve coordination with each other for ascertaining the whereabouts of each suspect in other states or countries before procuring provisional warrants for their arrests. The bench also made it clear that it would direct the Ministry of External Affairs to initiate extradition proceedings after issuance of provisional arrest warrants.
The Bench directed the CBI and the special investigation team of Punjab police probing the case to submit the information to MEA, regarding all the suspects in drug racketing settled abroad, within 60 days, for initiation of extradition process. The bench fixed January 19 as the next date of hearing and directed the parties to come up with status report.
Coming down heavily on the CBI for apparently going slow in the Punjab’s drug haul case, the High Court on previous date of hearing had summoned the Interpol in-charge of the CBI.
The bench also expressed anguish over the reports of sale of narcotics substances openly on chemist shops. The bench questioned the unprecedented growth of the chemist shops in Punjab. Why such a large number of chemist shops have come up and are flourishing, the bench asked.
The bench questioned the officials of Punjab drug controller that if they had ever tried to sensitize the lawmakers about the need of making amendment to make the law or enforcement stricter.
The bench also asked that why not the District Drug Controller be notified as police officials for the purpose of enforcement of laws regarding drugs.
When the officials of Drug Control department tried to pass the buck on loopholes in the drug act, being a center act, the bench came down heavily on them and asked if they had any communication to show that center government was appraised about the problem and was advised regarding necessary amendments.