Niranjan Singh, Jalandhar-based key enforcement directorate (ED) official, on Wednesday submitted a note on the alleged role of Punjab revenue minister Bikram Singh Majithia in the money-laundering allegations in the multi-crore Bhola drug racket to the Punjab and Haryana high court.
The high court bench, in over two-hour-long hearing, also held separate ‘discussions’ in its chamber with the various counsels involved in the case. Soon after the hearing resumed, the high court division bench of justice AK Mittal and justice Rekha Mittal called all the counsels one by one for separate discussions to its chamber.
The high court also directed the Punjab government to prepare brief notes on the roles of various accused in the drug racket case, who have applied for bail before the high court, so that hearings on those bails could be fast-tracked.
As the hearing began on Wednesday, the court called in various counsels, including Navkiran Singh, on whose application the transfer of Niranjan was stayed; assistant advocate general of India Chetan Mittal; Punjab advocate general Ashok Aggarwal; and senior advocate Anupam Gupta, representing Niranjan Singh; one by one.
The ‘discussions’ in the private chamber of the bench lasted for nearly two hours. Gupta, representing Niranjan, briefed the high court bench for almost 45 minutes and also shared the note prepared by Niranjan after the last week order for the same, giving details of the evidences which led to the summoning of the Punjab minister.
The judges are not only believed to have asked questions pertaining to transfer of Niranjan, but also about the trial proceedings in various lower courts and the drug probe being investigated by Punjab police.
Soon after the ‘discussions’ concluded, the high court bench resumed the hearing in the open court, wherein the note prepared by Niranjan was taken on record.
ED objects to note
ED’s counsel Chetan Mittal strongly objected to the note being submitted by Niranjan and told the high court that it needed to be decided whether Niranjan would submit the report through private counsel or the ED would submit its report. He wondered whether it was professional misconduct on part of Niranjan or not to make submissions through the private counsel.
Gupta strongly objected to it and submitted that the note had been prepared on the asking of the court. “Submissions are contumacious and this has never happened in the history of this high court and Supreme Court. I have supplied the note on asking of the high court,” Gupta said, intervening on submissions by Chetan Mittal.
Punjab advocate general Ashok Aggarwal and Chetan Mittal demanded that the copies of the said note be supplied to various parties. To this, Gupta said he did not have any objection in ‘making the note public’. The high court, however, put the note in a sealed cover and directed the registrar, judicial, to produce it whenever asked for.
Further arguments in the case will continue on May 14. The stay on the transfer of Niranjan will also continue till next orders.