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Bhola drug case: CBI court allows ED’s application seeking property details of 18 NRIs in Canada, UK

For the first time, ED finds something “incriminating” against Canadian resident Satpreet Satta .

punjab Updated: Jan 21, 2018 10:48 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Bhola drug case,Bhola drug,Enforcement Directorate
(HT Representative)

Case moves forward

A special CBI court on Saturday allowed the Enforcement Directorate (ED’s) application seeking details of properties of 18 NRIs, whose names have cropped up in the Bhola drug case, in the UK and Canada.

Bhola, a former DSP, who allegedly ran a drug cartel in Punjab with the help of many politicians and NRIs, was arrested by the Fatehgarh Sahib police in November 2013.

Significantly, the names of Edmonton resident Satpreet Satta and Richmond native Parminder Pindi are also on the list of 18. Satta, who has his roots in Hoshiarpur district, was an influential figure in power corridors of the state during the SAD-BJP regime of 2007-12. This is for the first time that the ED, a central investigative agency, has found something “incriminating” against him.

The court’s decision comes four months after the ED moved the ‘letter of request’ in the CBI court, then in Patiala, under Section 57 of the Prevention of the Money Laundering Act (PMLA) 2002.

Punjab Police never named Satta on record

The Punjab Police, which investigated the case, before it was taken over by the ED, never named Satta in the case on record. His name never figured on the list of 10 NRIs that the state government wanted extradited for allegedly acting as conduits in the case.

Leader of opposition Sukhpal Singh Khaira has repeatedly claimed that Satta is a key connection in the case and had remained close to former revenue minister Bikram Majithia.

ED’s special prosecutor Jagjitpal Singh Sarao said, “The court will forward the ED’s application to the Union ministry for external affairs to open diplomatic channels and ask Canada and the UK to collect property details of the accused.”

‘Details vital for investigation’

The matter relates to the ED’s probe against wrestler-turned-cop-turned drug kingpin Jagdish Bhola and his associates.Sarao said, “Investigation shows that Bhola’s associates parked a huge amount of money generated from the illegal drug racket in buying properties in the UK and Canada. Their details are vital. Many of them are NRIs too.”

“On our list of 18, we also had Anup Singh Kahlon, an NRI based in Canada, who is one of the key accused in the drug haul case along with his wife Ranjit Kaur,” Sarao added.

The others on the list are Manpreet Singh and Daljeet Singh of Moga; Harmohinder Singh of Delhi; Kulwant Singh of Phagwara. Those who are in Canada and the UK, but are on the ED list are Roy Bahadur Nirwal; Parminder Singh; Madan Lal; Davinder Singh Narwal; Pradip Singh Dhaliwal; Satpreet Singh; Tony Parmod Sharma; Amarjit Singh Kooner; Ranjit Singh Aujla; Lehmdar Singh and Sukhraj Singh Kang.

In October 2017, chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh had written to the Union government, requesting it to take up the issue of extradition of many of these NRIs in connection with the drug haul case.

First Published: Jan 21, 2018 10:41 IST