Amid a thaw in relations of the ruling SAD-BJP alliance in Punjab in view of the upcoming Delhi polls, the Union finance ministry headed by Arun Jaitley on Friday issued marching orders to Enforcement Directorate (ED) assistant director Niranjan Singh, who was investigating the high-profile Bhola drug racket.
Singh had questioned Punjab revenue minister Bikram Majithia, brother-in-law of deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal, on December 26 for his alleged links with NRI drug dealers Satpreet Satta, Parminder Pindi and Amarinder Laddi.
Majithia’s sister Harsimrat Badal is a Union minister in the Modi government and enjoys close proximity to Jaitley.
The officer has been transferred from the ED office in Jalandhar to Kolkata, raising serious doubts over the timing as he had last week interrogated former Akali leader Bittu Aulakh, who has reportedly revealed important details of his close association with Majithia and the NRIs.
Following the questioning of Majithia and Aulakh, the ED was close to filing a challan in the trial court. The agency that is investigating the money laundering angle in the multi-crore drug racket had already questioned the arrested kingpin Jagdish Bhola and businessman Jagjit Chahal, who owns pharma companies that allegedly made precusor chemicals used in the synthetic drug, ICE.
Like Bhola, who had named Majithia and demanded a CBI probe, Aulakh, too, has demanded that the case be shifted from the Punjab Police to the premier investigating agency.
The development will fuel allegations of a “cover-up” by the NDA, of which SAD is a part, at a time when the opposition Congress was targeting the ruling combine on the drug issue following questioning of Majithia, CPS Avinash Chander and Damanvir Singh, son of former minister Sarwan Singh Phillaur.