ED set to summon Bikram Singh Majithia, has 50 questions ready
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has a list of questions ready for Punjab revenue minister Bikram Singh Majithia, who would be summoned “within a short period” in a case of money laundering, as part of an ongoing probe into the multi-crore drug racket case that has rocked Punjabchandigarh Updated: Nov 26, 2014 18:19 IST
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has a list of questions ready for Punjab revenue minister Bikram Singh Majithia, who would be summoned “within a short period” in a case of money laundering, as part of an ongoing probe into the multi-crore drug racket case that has rocked Punjab and the SAD-BJP regime over the past few months, it is learnt.
Documents accessed by HT show that ED has completed all formalities and, on Monday, the central agency also finalised the questionnaire that would be put before the firebrand minister of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD). The 25-page document simply entitled ‘Questionnaire for Bikram Singh Majithia’ contains more than 50 questions pertaining to personal and business details.
The drug racket had been busted last year with the arrest of former policeman Jagdish Singh Bhola, and he too had named Majithia.
Now, according to well-placed sources, the ED’s move to summon Majithia — brother of Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal, the wife of CM Parkash Singh Badal’s son and deputy Sukhbir Singh Badal — has been initiated after a nod from the “high-ups in Delhi” in view of political sensitivity of the case. ED officials, however, made it clear that mere summoning did not vindicate involvement in the case.
Incidentally, the fresh development on the drug mafia issue comes at a time when the Punjab BJP, taking a high moral ground with a ‘drug-free Punjab’ slogan, has adopted a tough stand on the issue — widely seen as a part of its shrewd strategy to deflect the public anger on partner SAD. The saffron party has, in fact, been shrill in demanding resignation of Akali legislator and chief parliamentary secretary Avinash Chander who was summoned by the ED in the drug case earlier.
The ED is under the Union finance ministry headed by BJP’s Arun Jaitley, who had unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha polls from Amritsar after reported assurances from the SAD that it was a “safe seat”.
ROOTS IN 2007, NRI LINKS
A major portion of the questionnaire that HT managed to see focuses on seeking details about assets and business activities of Majithia and his family since 2007, when the SAD-BJP alliance had come to power after five years of Congress rule.
He has also been asked for details of his relationship with Satpreet Singh alias Satta, Amarinder Singh alias Laddi and Parminder Singh alias Pindi — Canada-based NRIs whom Bhola in his statement has listed as ‘close associates’ of Majithia. These three have already been booked by the ED.
“Since Bhola’s involvement in the synthetic drug case has its roots in 2007, investigation of the wealth and activities of all accused is the most important aspect in the probe,” sources in the ED said. Officials further said the questionnaire might be sent to the national headquarters of the agency in Delhi for final approval, but declined to give a date, saying that “things would be before all of us shortly”.
Most questions on the first three pages of the questionnaire are about Majithia and his family’s bank accounts, business ventures, moveable and immovable properties. It also seeks copies of Majithia and his and wife’s passports.
On Monday, reacting to the news report ‘ED ready with evidence to summon Majithia but dragging its feet’ that appeared in HT on Monday, the minister had said the statements made by the accused carried no evidence and were “mere conjecture”.
ED’s questions for Majithia
The 25-page questionnaire prepared by the ED for Punjab revenue minister Bikram Singh Majithia has 50 questions. From the parts accessed by HT, here are some pertinent details sought:
*Property and business ventures since 2007
*Details of properties owned in different states and overseas, by the minister and his family
*Business and personal links with another prime accused, Bittu Aulakh
*Details of stay of drug-racket accused NRIs — with Satpreet Singh alias Satta, Amarinder Singh alias Laddi and Parminder Singh alias Pindi, alleged to be Majithia’s close associates — at his official residence in Chandigarh and the house in Amritsar
*Details of foreign travels and meetings with Satta and Pindi
*Answer on Satta’s involvement as his election agent in 2007 assembly polls