The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Monday objected to the statements being made by Niranjan Singh, a key ED official who has opposed his transfer, in the Punjab and Haryana high court stating that he had not even become a party in the case.
During the resumed hearing, the high court asked Niranjan whether he was still probing the case and also as to how much time he would take to conclude the investigations. Senior advocate Anupam Gupta, appearing on Niranjan’s behalf, told the court that he was still investigating the case and needed six more months to complete the probe.
To this, assistant solicitor general, government of India, Chetan Mittal, who appeared on the ED’s behalf, objected to the statements being made by Niranjan and said he was yet to file an application to implead himself as a party in the case. “I am deliberately holding it back (filing application). If I file, it will be very damaging to your case,” Gupta said before the court.
Niranjan is probing the money laundering case in the multi-crore Bhola drug racket. He was transferred to Kolkata in January. Last month, he had objected to his transfer orders, but is yet to formally become a party in the case.
During the hearing, Niranjan’s counsel Anupam Gupta and Navkiran Singh, who had filed an application challenging the ED official’s transfer, kept on stressing that the statements made by Punjab cabinet minister Bikram Singh Majithia and entire investigation record of the money laundering probe be summoned to “serve the justice” in the case. The HC also made specific queries whether Majithia had been summoned in the case.
As the HC was passing orders to summon Majithia’s statements, Punjab advocate general Ashok Aggarwal and Chetan Mittal objected to it, specifically mentioning Majithia’s name.
Later, the high court summoned the record pertaining to the probe and trial, which is going on in a special CBI court, Patiala, including the statements of various accused and others examined in the case. It observed in the open court that a call on Niranjan’s transfer would be taken only after the examination of the records and progress of the trial.
The HC also stressed the need for fast-tracking the cases related to the Bhola drug racket. The sealed cover status reports of the ED and the Punjab police were also examined by high court during the hearing. The stay on Niranjan’s transfer will continue till further orders.
In January, the HC had stayed Niranjan’s transfer to Kolkata, who is posted as an assistant director in the ED’s Jalandhar office, following an application from a lawyers’ group challenging the ED’s decision. The transfer had resulted in a hue and cry from the media and other quarters as the Niranjan-led team had summoned a number of politicians in the drug case, including Majithia.