A division bench of the Punjab and Haryana high court on Thursday recused from hearing the Rs 6,000-crore Bhola drug racket case.
The division bench comprising justices Hemant Gupta and Lisa Gill ordered to place the matter before some other bench after obtaining orders from the acting chief justice, while hearing an application submitted by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on the replacements for key ED officer Niranjan Singh at the Jalandhar office.
The HC division bench of justices SK Mittal and HS Sidhu had recused itself from hearing the case on March 18. The matter will now come up for further hearing on March 30.
The ED, in its fresh affidavit, has stated that its two officials -- Rajiv Kumar from its Srinagar office and Ajay Singh from the Delhi headquarters -- had been relieved on March 12 and 13, respectively, to join the directorate’s Jalandhar office. These two officials are to take over the investigation from Niranjan, the HC has been informed.
The HC had stayed the transfer of Niranjan Singh following an application from a lawyers group challenging the ED’s decision to move him to the Kolkata office in January.
Earlier this month, the Supreme Court had also asked the high court to constitute a special bench for the early disposal of petitions related to the drug racket. The case is being investigated by the Punjab Police under the high court’s monitoring. The ED is running a parallel probe into allegations of money laundering in the drug racket.