Even as the names of three NRIs — Satpreet Singh, alias Satta, Amninder Singh Laadi and Parminder Singh Pindi — appear prominently in the statement of Jagjit Singh Chahal, the arrested pharma company owner and the kingpin of the synthetic drugs racket, to the Enforcement Directorate (ED), the central investigation agency is yet to ask the three to join investigation in the case.The police have also failed to investigate the NRIs and their activities in the country.
Police sources said Pindi and Laadi had been booked in a drug case at the Banur police station, but the department made no effort to deport the duo from Edmonton, Canada, where they reside as per the statements of the other accused.
Chahal has also told the ED that Pindi and Laadi were introduced to him by another accused Manjinder Singh Bittu Aulakh.
Aulakh has claimed that he introduced Pindi and Laadi to Chahal through Satta and Satta was introduced to him by Punjab revenue minister Bikram Singh Majithia.
A top ED official, who was part of the drug probe till few months ago, said no agency till now knew the roots that Pindi and Laddi had in India.
Ferozepur SSP Hardial Singh Mann, who cracked the case, while being posted as the Fatehgarh Sahib SSP refused comment. Patiala SSP Gurmeet Singh Chauhan did not take repeated calls.
The antecedents of Satta, who Chahal has claimed to have frequently seen at Majithia’s residence and was also reportedly present at the minister’s wedding in November 2009, have also not been verified. He is a native of Marnayian Kalan village in Hoshiarpur and has an uncle staying there. However, sources said that the uncle, Balbir Singh, had never been questioned on whether Satta visited him during his regular trips to the country.
Chahal and Aulakh have told the ED that the three NRIs used to stay at the minister’s house in Amritsar as well as his official residence in Sector 39, Chandigarh, during their visits.
The legal position
Lawyers say that on the basis of statements under Section 50 of the Prevention of Money Laundering (PMLA) Act, 2002, in a money laundering probe, (the section under which Chahal and Aulakh recorded their statements), the agency can register an ECIR (enforcement case information report), also called as FIR, against a person who has been named in various confessional statements.
The registration of the ECIR is the prerogative of the ED.Various senior advocates of the high court dealing with money laundering cases said that statements recorded under section 50 of PMLA Act, were admissible in court as evidence. However, a person cannot be convicted merely on the basis of confessional statements. In cases, where a statement has been made by an accused against a person, who has not been even made an accused, corroborative evidence needed to be established to prove guilt. However, the ED can register a ECIR on the basis of a statement.
A senior advocate APS Deol added, “The confessional statements of accused persons were admissible in the case where a person is a co–accused.”