The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday interrogated senior SAD leader and sugar baron Jarnail Singh Wahid in a 12-year-old case pertaining to alleged money laundering through hawala route.
The case was being investigated by the central agency under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA).
Wahid, who is Kapurthala SAD district president and the owner of Wahid Sugar Mill, was interestingly summoned by the ED in a case in which he was questioned in 2003 last time.
The case pertains to investment made by Wahid’s NRI partner Sukhbir Singh Sandal in the sugar mill. The ED had procured records from the SAD leader and his partner in 2003.
In 2002, Wahid as member of the Staff Selection Board (SSB), Punjab, along with other board members, was arrested by the Vigilance Bureau for making irregularities in certain appointments during the SAD rule in the state in 1998-2002.
Wahid claims that he was given a clean chit in this case by a Mohali court in 2010.
In 2003, he was summoned by the ED to produce documents of all income tax details and the money received for the sugar mill from his NRI partner besides other details of financial transactions.
“ED never questioned me after 2003 as I had submitted all details to them. All of a sudden, I was slapped a notice by the agency on January 15, in which I was asked to appear again. I am surprised as why the agency summoned me in this case after almost 12 years,” said Wahid.
He was quizzed by ED assistant director Manoj Sharma for nearly two hours.
Sources said the agency has now asked the SAD leader to come with his passport and documents related to recent financial transactions made in his sugar mill.
“Surprisingly, the agency has asked me to submit the records of financial transactions made by my NRI partner. I told them as why do not they ask my partner on this. Whatever my partner invested in the sugar mill is all white money,” said Wahid.
In SAD circles, at a time when ED is already zeroing in on various party leaders on money laundering in the Bhola drug racket case, summoning of the SAD district chief is also seen as a another ploy of the agency to give stern signal for various politically powerful personalities.
ED officials, however, refuted such charges saying that all old cases are monitored at regular intervals. “After our regular monitoring of old cases, especially in those in which the agency thinks that investigation is required, we issue summons. It is a routine official functioning,” a senior agency official said.