Punjab and Haryana HC extends ED officer's transfer stay

GN Bureau | February 2, 2015



Sending a clear and strong signal that they will not allow the investigation in the multi crore drug racket case of Punjab to be influenced in any manner, the Punjab and Haryana high court on Monday extended the stay on the transfer of enforcement directorate (ED) officer Niranjan Singh, who was transferred to Kolkata last month, allegedly under political pressure.

The court while rejecting the explanation given by ED extended the stay till February 26, the next date of hearing. ED in its reply stated that since investigations in the Saradha chit fund scam were being monitored by the supreme court, the officer was transferred to Kolkata to investigate the case, it being an important one.

Not buying the explanation, a division bench held that while they understand the importance of the case and the fact that it is being monitored by the apex court, at the same time they questioned ED if they did not have other competent officers for the job.

Jalandhar based assistant director with ED, Niranjan Singh, had questioned Punjab revenue minister Bikram Singh Majithia, whose name was mentioned in the scam by the arrested kingpin Jagdish Bhola. Majithia is also the brother-in-law of Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal.

Though the department had downplayed the issue by reasoning that presence of a senior officer was to be required in Kolkata and that the move was carried out under no political pressure, advocate Navkiran Singh on behalf of NGO Lawyers for Human Rights International (LHRI) had filed an application in the court questioning the transfer of the ED officer while stating that it was not in public interest. 

Meanwhile ex-Punjab DGP Shashikant on Monday submitted a list, apparently comprising names of prominent persons and politicians who were allegedly involved in the drug racket, to the court in a sealed envelope. Shashikant had earlier told the court that while he was serving in the state’s vigilance department in 2007, he had given the same list to the Punjab Chief Minister but no action was taken by the government. The court, in the last hearing, had asked Shashikant to produce the list on Monday.

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