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Has Congress shot itself in the foot with drug case against Majithia on poll eve?

By Sai Manish
January 11, 2022 13:30 IST
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‘This is evidently pure vendetta politics and may even end up helping the Akalis in the elections’

IMAGE: Akali leader Bikram Singh Majithia. Photograph: ANI Photo.

The Congress attack on the Shiromani Akali Dal has been defined by a two-pronged strategy over the past few years.

On one front, the party, led by its state chief Navjot Sidhu, has targeted Sukhbir Badal on sacrilege cases.

On the other, Badal’s brother-in-law Bikram Singh Majithia has been painted as the face of the narcotics problem ravaging the state.


Majithia is the younger brother of Badal’s wife and former Union minister, Harsimrat Kaur.

Having achieved little in bringing down Badal on sacrilege, the Congress finally got some success in closing in on Majithia after many years.

Majithia has been accused of some of the same offences under the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act that Bollywood actor Shahrukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan and the late actor Sushant Rajput’s partner, Rhea Chakraborty, were booked for.

If both Aryan and Chakraborty’s precedents are anything to go by, Majithia should head into elections without having to spend much time in prison. His anticipatory bail application was quashed by a sessions court and the Punjab and Haryana high court has given him interim bail.

The cases against Majithia, just before the assembly elections, are based on allegations levelled against him in a special task force report prepared in 2018 by Harpreet Sidhu, a top police official who coincidentally happens to be a distant cousin of the Akali leader.

Majithia has been accused of providing his cars and security men to Canada-based Punjabi drug dealers, in addition to letting them stay at his residence in Amritsar.

He is further accused of facilitating the sale of pseudoephedrine (used in making drugs) between these drug dealers and settling disputes between them.

While there are allegations of “monetary transactions” as submitted by the police’s lawyers in court, there is little else known about these narco-financial dealings.

The same police official is still heading the special task force on drugs in the state. However, no case was brought against Majithia for many years for lack of “material” evidence.

The Enforcement Directorate and the Central Bureau of Investigation too have investigated high-profile drug cases in Punjab in the past but Majithia has remained impervious to any insinuations by these agencies.

Majithia’s lawyers have argued in court that the case against him has been brought by the Congress to “wreak vengeance in the run-up to the upcoming assembly polls”.

The state’s political observers say the Congress might have shot itself in the foot by timing the police action against Majithia so close to the polls.

 “I find it preposterous that Majithia is being portrayed as some sort of a global drug lord. Everybody knows that nothing has been done over the years to wean the youth away from drugs. Drugs continue to flow freely. This proves that the Congress has nothing to show in the state. This is evidently pure vendetta politics and may even end up helping the Akalis in the elections,” said Pramod Kumar, director of the Institute of Development and Communication in Chandigarh.

In many ways, Majithia was and continues to be a highly polarising figure in Punjab.

He comes from a wealthy political-business family that has wide-ranging interests in alcohol distillation, sugar production, power generation, and aviation, among other things.

While Harsimrat Kaur and her extended family have their own business interests in the state, the political rise of Majithia and the business boom of the Badals have often found themselves intertwined in Punjab’s political discourse.

The family bonds have ensured that Majithia has consistently enjoyed Badal’s unflinching support.

Ever since the police case was filed against him, the Akalis have left no stone unturned to derive political mileage from this perceived case of vendetta politics.

In fact, not long after the case was filed, Badal, in a rally at Sultanpur Lodhi, vowed to fight the case against Majithia in the “court of law and the courts of people”, even exhorting that the vengeance showed by the Congress in the case would only make him and his party more popular.

Having won three consecutive assembly polls since making his electoral debut in 2007, Majithia could well continue his unhindered run in the state’s politics this year.

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Sai Manish in Chandigarh
Source: source