ED Officer questions his transfer in High Court

Chandigarh, Apr 6 (PTI) A senior Enforcement Directorate (ED) officer, who was transferred days after he interrogated Punjab minister Bikram Majithia about a drug racket worth thousands of crores, today opposed his transfer before the Punjab and Haryana High Court here.

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

Assistant Director Niranjan Singh claimed that both the officers posted in his place, have no experience in probing such cases, contradicting the ED’s claims that it has posted experienced officials to investigate money laundering charges in Punjab’s drug haul case.

ED had posted Rajiv Kumar from Jammu and Kashmir and Ajay Kumar from Delhi office in place of Singh, who was transferred to Kolkata. The ED has said that both the officers are equally competent and have excellent track record in such matters.

When the matter came up for hearing before the court, Assistant Solicitor General of India Chetan Mittal requested it to implement Singh’s transfer orders saying the work of ED at Jalandhar office is suffering.

He also informed the the bench of justices A K Mittal and Rekha Mittal that the investigation into money laundering in drug haul case has been completed.

Strongly objecting to this, senior advocate Anupam Gupta, appearing on behalf of Singh termed the ED submissions as “blatant lies” and said the “investigation is still on”.

It was for the first time that Singh had openly questioned the ED for his transfer to Kolkata.

Hearing the submissions, the bench directed the ED as well as Punjab Police to produce status reports of their investigations into the case before the court on April 20.

The court was hearing a petition filed by NGO Lawyers for Human Rights International (LHRI).

In its plea, it contended that Singh’s transfer would hamper the investigation into the Rs 6,000-crore money laundering racket, as the case was being supervised by the high court for more than a year and status reports were being filed by the state and central agencies.?

On December 26, Singh had questioned Majithia, who is also brother of Union minister Harsimrat Singh Badal, for around four hours after allegations of links with three NRIs who were being investigated for money laundering in the racket busted by Punjab Police in 2013.

On January 21, the high court had stayed the transfer of Singh and directed ED that his transfer orders from Jalandhar to Kolkata should not be implemented till further directions.