The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has cancelled the transfer of its assistant director, Niranjan Singh, who is probing the multi-crore Jagdish Singh Bhola drug racket.
On January 16, Niranjan was abruptly transferred to Kolkata by the ED head office in New Delhi after he questioned political leaders, including Congress MP from Jalandhar Santokh Chaudhary, Punjab revenue minister Bikram Singh Majithia and Akali chief parliamentary secretary Avinash Chander.
Niranjan’s transfer was challenged in the Punjab and Haryana high court after the Lawyers for Human Rights International, led by senior advocate Navkiran Singh, moved an application in the court on January 20.
“Niranjan’s transfer has been cancelled and he will continue to investigate all cases relating to the drug probe in Punjab,” Karnal Singh, ED director, confirmed to Hindustan Times while speaking from Delhi.
Sources in the ED office here said Niranjan had received the order for cancellation of the transfer and now all cases about the stay on his transfer automatically stood cancelled. The order was issued by the ED headquarters on Thursday.
Twists and turns
Ever since Niranjan challenged his transfer in the high court, the case has witnessed many twists and turns. At one point, he virtually took on his own department and blamed Majithia for his transfer.
The ED had been justifying his transfer in the court. The directorate had in April shifted assistant directors Ajay Singh and Rajiv Kumar to Jalandhar to take up the case, but Niranjan had countered the move in the court, saying that the substitutes were not experienced enough to handle the high-profile case.
After Niranjan, the special prosecutor of the ED in the case, Suresh Batra, was transferred to Bengaluru, but the high court stayed his transfer as well. On September 16, his transfer was cancelled by Karnal Singh.
During the hearing on Batra’s transfer, senior advocate Anupam Gupta submitted on behalf of Niranjan that there was a pattern in the transfer of both officers “to weaken the investigation.”
The high court, during the hearing in the drug racket case on November 4, had termed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) as a “third-rate agency” for its poor handling of the investigation pertaining to NRI suspects in the Bhola case.