The confessions of the Punjab synthetic-drug racket accused point to the involvement of cabinet minister Bikram Singh Majithia

08 November 2017
The arrest of the former wrestler turned policeman Jagdish Bhola for his involvement in an illicit drug operation led to investigations in which the Punjab minister Bikram Singh Majithia was repeatedly named.
rajesh sachar / pacific press / getty images
The arrest of the former wrestler turned policeman Jagdish Bhola for his involvement in an illicit drug operation led to investigations in which the Punjab minister Bikram Singh Majithia was repeatedly named.
rajesh sachar / pacific press / getty images

On 8 November, the Jammu and Kashmir governor NN Vohra took over as the president of the Tribune Trust, which manages The Tribune, in the wake of a controversy following the daily’s front-page apology to the former Punjab cabinet minister Bikram Singh Majithia. On 29 October, the daily had published “an unconditional apology” to Majithia for reports from November 2014 and March 2015 “with prominent headlines” that suggested his “involvement … with an illegal drug syndicate.” The Print reported that the daily’s editor-in-chief, Harish Khare, has “offered his resignation in protest after the apology was forced upon him from the top.”    

In November 2013, key players in Punjab’s synthetic-drug trade were arrested, and subsequently alluded to the involvement of Majithia—the brother-in-law of the former deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal—specifically naming him for his role in facilitating connections for the trade. In The Caravan’s January 2017 cover story, “Under A Cloud,” Hartosh Singh Bal reported on the political landscape of Punjab. In the following extract from the story, Bal examines the allegations of Majithia’s involvement in the drug racket.

In the 2008 Punjabi movie Rustam-e-Hind, Jagdish Bhola was a cast as a wrestler who never compromised the integrity of his sport. He certainly had the build and experience for the role: among other victories, he had won a silver at the 1991 Asian Wrestling Championship. He was rewarded for his achievements with an Arjuna Award and a job with the Punjab Police.

Hartosh Singh Bal is the political editor at The Caravan.

Keywords: Punjab drug trade Sukhbir Singh Badal Bikram Singh Majithia
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