Transfer of official probing Punjab minister has been put on hold by the high court
GN Bureau | January 21, 2015
Trouble for Shiromani Akali Dal refuses to go away and now its ally BJP has also been dragged into the Punjab controversy. A division bench of justices S K Mittal and Deepak Sibal of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Wednesday stayed the transfer of Niranjan Singh of enforcement directorate and pulled up the Centre for transferring the officer at such a crucial stage of the investigation. He is the key officer in drug racket probe in which the name of state’s cabinet minister Bikram Singh Majithia had been mentioned.
Even prime minister Narendra Modi had mentioned Punjab’s drug problem in his radio address Mann Ki Baat. However, the SAD has been trying to save the skin of the state’s revenue minister and brother-in-law of Punjab’s deputy chief minister. Majithia’s name was mentioned in the multi-crore money laundering drug racket case of Punjab by the arrested kingpin himself.
Majithia was recently questioned by Niranjan Singh in the case. The official was recently transferred to Kolkata to investigate some “important” cases, like the Saradha chit fund scam. The department downplayed the issue by reasoning that presence of a senior officer was required in Kolkata. It also rebutted media reports alleging involvement of politicians in the officer’s transfer.
However, a division bench comprising justices S K Mittal and Deepak Sibal of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Wednesday stayed the transfer of Niranjan Singh and pulled up the Centre, where SAD’s ally BJP is heading the government. The bench also summoned the transfer records from the department of enforcement directorate on February 2.
The court directives comes after an application was filed by advocate Navkiran Singh on behalf of NGO Lawyers for Human Rights International (LHRI) questioning the transfer of the ED officer stating that it was not in public interest. Singh had cited cases related to the 2G and coal block scam as to how officers were transferred midway during investigation but were later stayed by the Supreme Court.
In the last hearing, ex-DGP Punjab Shashikant had told the court that when he was serving in the state’s vigilance department in 2007, he had given a list of prominent persons and politicians, involved in the drug racket, to the Punjab chief minister but no action was taken by the government. The court on Wednesday asked Shashikant to produce the list during the next hearing.
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