The Punjab police has been inordinately delaying the extradition proceedings against 9 Canada-based Punjabis involved in the notorious multi-crore DSP Jagdish Bhola drug case, who are wanted since 2013.
The Canadian Department of Justice (DOJ) has not been able to proceed against these 9 accused as the information provided by the Punjab police was insufficient and did not fulfil the conditions of extradition.
Police found that these NRIs namely, Amarjit Singh Kooner, Gursevak Singh Dhillon, Nirankar Singh Dhillon, Sarbjit Sander, Lehmber Singh Daleh, Amrinder Singh Chheena, Pardeep Singh Dhaliwal, Ranjit Singh Aujla, and Ranjit Kaur Kahlon were closely connected to the main accused Jagdish Bhola. They were suspected to be conduits and carriers in the illegal trade helping supply drugs to the West.
Some of these accused also reportedly stayed at the residence of a senior Akali politician during their trips to India. Cases have been registered against them under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS) in various police stations.
The Canadian DOJ, since 2016, is seeking revised extradition requests along with additional information but the matter has been pending with the Punjab police since then, which is delaying the extradition process of the accused.
A status report in this regard was filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court recently by Sandeep Kumar, deputy secretary (extradition), Union Ministry of External Affair (MEA) giving a date-wise account of when the High Commission of India in Ottawa wrote to the Canadian authorities.
Advocate Navkiran Singh, who appears in the court as an intervenor on behalf of Lawyers for Human Right International says, investigations in the Bhola drug case could have led to wider revelations had the police succeeded in getting these 9 accused extradited.
"The full truth, in this case, remains buried as the Punjab police are taking no interest to get the accused extradited," says Navkiran Singh adding, let the police recall back their extradition requests if they think no purpose will be served by interrogating these NRIs.
Efforts to elicit a response from DGP Gaurav Yadav on the issue proved futile. A questionnaire on the subject sent to DGP Special Task Force, Harpreet Singh Sidhu, who is tasked to fight the drug menace in Punjab, went unanswered.