HC stays transfer of ED officer probing minister in drug scam

Chandigarh: Punjab and Haryana High Court today stayed the transfer orders of Assistant Director of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) Niranjan Singh, who was the main investigator probing cases related to the Rs 6,000 crore drugs money laundering in Punjab and had questioned Revenue Minister Bikram Majithia.

Assistant Director of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) Niranjan Singh
Assistant Director of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) Niranjan Singh

While summoning the record over the issue from the union government on February two, a division bench of the court comprising justices S K Mittal and Depak Sibal stayed the implementation of the transfer order of the ED official.

The court directive came on a PIL filed by local advocate Navkiran Singh on behalf of an NGO Lawyers for Human Rights International yesterday.

The plea was filed by the advocate in connection with Rs 6000 crore drug case in Punjab which is being probed by the ED.

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Niranjan Singh, who was posted as Assistant Director of the investigation agency at its Jalandhar office, was the main investigator in the drugs money laundering case and he was also part of the team which recently questioned Majithia in the same case in Jalandhar.

The officer was also the main officer for probe into a number of money laundering and forex violations cases that are being conducted in the state for a long time now.

The ED had sought to downplay Singh’s transfer, saying he has been “specially selected” to take over an “important assignment” in Kolkata.

In his PIL, the advocate had contended that the probe in the case was at its final stage and the transfer of the officer was neither in public interest nor in the interest of justice.

The shifting out of an investigation officer, playing a key role in the probe, was not beyond suspicion, the petitioner had contended.

“In situations where the investigation officers of two important cases, the coal scam and 2G scam, were transferred and the Supreme Court found the same not to be in the interest of justice, it stayed the transfer orders and ordered that the particular investigating officers would remain as investigating officer till the completion of trial,” Singh contended.

Inputs with PTI