Punjab revenue minister Bikram Singh Majithia had personally received about Rs 35 lakh as “election fund” from Jagjit Singh Chahal, the arrested pharma company owner and the kingpin of the synthetic drugs racket, according to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) chargesheet filed in the Patiala court on March 2.
“Between 2007 and 2012, I gave Rs 35 lakh in cash to Majithia in seven or eight instalments. I used to hand over the money to Majithia in the drawing room of his 43, Green Avenue, residence in Amritsar,” Chahal said in signed statements in Punjabi made before Niranjan Singh, the Jalandhar-posted assistant director of the ED, on February 9 this year.
Hindustan Times has the “attested true” copies of the confessional statements that the accused had recorded and signed before the ED investigator. These statements, made under Section 50 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act and permissible in the court as evidence, are part of the ED’s voluminous chargesheet.
However, it’s noteworthy that the ED chargesheet does not directly name Majithia in this case of money-laundering. Nor has the ED produced any corroborating evidence yet to establish the veracity of Chahal’s allegations.
Significantly, Majithia had appeared before the ED on December 26 last year in connection with the drug racket. Strangely, it is after summoning Majithia that the ED again recorded Chahal’s statement on February 9, 2015, in which the latter has alleged that he gave the money to the minister. It is, however, not clear whether Chahal had made the same allegation against Majithia in his earlier confessional statements before the ED.
Majithia was questioned by assistant director Niranjan Singh, who was later transferred to Kolkata. In an interim order, the Punjab and Haryana high court has stayed Singh’s transfer.
According to the ED documents, Chahal told ED, “Eh sariyan rakman main Majithia saab di kothi ch ja ke usde drawing room which dittiyan. Jaan ton pehlan, main usde PA Kartar Singh, jo ki usda sarkari PA hai, de naal telephone te gal kar ke Majithia saab de naal meeting da sama le lenda si (Before going to meet Majithia, I used to take appointment from his PA Kartar Singh).”
One of the primary accusations against Chahal who owned pharma companies was that he was allegedly manufacturing banned precursor chemicals — ephedrine and pseudoephedrine — which were being diverted illegally for the production of synthetic drug ICE.
The ED chargesheet says another accused and Amritsar businessman Maninder Singh alias Bittu Aulakh, stated before the central agency that Majithia was “involved” in sand mining business.
In response to the ED’s question about the “business of Majithia and his business associates”, Aulakh on January 13 this year had told ED, “He (Majithia) runs a distillery in Uttar Pradesh. His trusted man for sand mining is Kanwarjit Singh alias Rosy Barkandi of Muktsar.”
On the other hand, Chahal said, “Bittu Aulakh, Majithia and Bonny Amarpal Ajnala, SAD MLA, together deal in the business of sand mining.”
Chahal supplied synthetic drugs to NRIs
Bittu Aulakh told the enforcement directorate that Chahal used to supply synthetic drugs to Canada-based Satpreet Singh alias Satta and Parminder Singh Pindi, the duo personally known to Majithia.
“Majithia had introduced Satta as his best friend to me. Satta introduced Pindi to me at the wedding reception of Majithia on November 25, 2009. Pindi had come to India from Canada for the wedding of Majithia. I used to find Satta at the residence of Majithia at 43, Green Avenue, Amritsar,” reads Aulakh’s August 6, 2014, statement. Aulakh has admitted that he introduced Satta and Pindi to Chahal.
In response to the enforcement directorare’s question whether Majithia had asked him to help Satta and Pindi in sending any drugs abroad, Aulakh’s January 12, 2015, statement reads, “Bikram Singh Majithia asked me to help Satta in whatever business of drugs (medicines) Satta wanted to do.”
He also claimed that Satta and Pindi used to stay at Majithia’s personal house in Amritsar and his official residence at Sector 39 in Chandigarh.
Malicious campaign: Majithia
reacting to ED chargesheet, Majithia told HT on Monday, “There is no such thing in the chargesheet as far as I know. Give the evidence where the money has been given. No such confessional statement was shown to me when I was summoned before the Enforcement Directorate. This is a malicious campaign against me. My income-tax returns and other things are in public domain. Had there been such evidence against me, I would not have been spared and would have been behind bars by now.”