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Thursday, Nov 14, 2019

Punjab DGP vs DGP: Enforcement Directorate examines money laundering angle in Raj Jit, Inderjit cases

Raj Jit is being probed for his alleged complicity with Inderjit in drug trafficking.

punjab Updated: Sep 06, 2018 11:16 IST
Sukhdeep Kaur
Sukhdeep Kaur
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Inspector Inderjit Singh and former Moga SSP Raj Jit Singh
Inspector Inderjit Singh and former Moga SSP Raj Jit Singh (HT File )

The drug trafficking probe against Punjab cops has reached the Enforcement Directorate (ED). But the central agency that investigates money laundering cases seems to be dithering on taking them up. It does not help matters that the cases have pitched three Punjab DGPs against each other.

The Punjab and Haryana high court in December last year had set up a special investigation team (SIT) under DGP, PSPCL, Siddharth Chattopadhyaya for probing charges against former Moga SSP Raj Jit Singh who had sought shifting of the probe from anti-drug special task force (STF) accusing its head Harpreet Sidhu of bias.

Following directions of the double bench of Justice Surya Kant and Shekhar Dhawan to all central agencies to help the SIT, Chattopadhyaya in a letter to ED chief Karnal Singh in February, requested that deputy director Niranjan Singh be directed to assist him in the case. Niranjan Singh was earlier investigating officer and is currently the supervisory officer in the Jagdish Bhola drug case.

Later, while submitting the second report to the HC in a sealed cover on April 6, Chattopadhyaya had made damning allegations against Punjab DGP Suresh Arora and DGP (Intelligence) Dinkar Gupta, saying their role had surfaced in the drug probe.

Punjab’s anti-drug STF too had last year sent case files of dismissed inspector Inderjit Singh, arrested by it in June last year with four kg of heroin and illegal arms, to the ED after filing a chargesheet against him on November 20.

Raj Jit is being probed for his alleged complicity with Inderjit in drug trafficking. On the delay, ED officials said the cases are sub-judice and the right authorities are examining if they can be taken up.

“We are looking at the proceeds of the crime. We are required to prove that the drug money was laundered. If it is a fit case, it will be registered,” a senior officer of Jalandhar zone of ED said, not wishing to be named. STF chief ADGP Harpreet Singh Sidhu said they have already provided all the details available with them to the ED. “We will assist the agency in whatever is required by them,” he added.

Chattopadhyaya refused to comment saying the SIT has already submitted the final report to the HC in May. Notably, Inderjit had come to limelight when he arrested kingpin of multi-crore drug racket Raja Kandola in 2012. And the ED is probing Kandola’s case since 2013 and has filed chargesheets against the accused under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

Power struggle for DGP post

The Raj Jit case has become both high-profile and controversial as it is being seen as part of the power struggle for the top job among Punjab DGPs.

The SIT report will be examined after HC chief justice Krishna Murari takes a final call on which bench will hear the case. The Raj Jit case is being heard as part of a 2013 PIL on Jagdish Bhola drug case. The division bench, presided over by justice Surya Kant, had been hearing the case since July 2015.

The government had in June transferred Chattopadhaya from DGP (human resource) to DGP (PSPCL). However, after CM Capt Amarinder Singh faced ire of his cabinet colleagues on the drug issue, Raj Jit was shunted out as Moga SSP in July.

Case Timeline

June 2017: STF arrests (now dismissed) inspector Inderjit Singh

November 2017: STF files challan in case, sends details to ED

December 2017: HC forms SIT headed by DGP Chattopadhyaya to probe complicity of former Moga SSP Raj Jit with Inderjit

April 2018: Chattopadhaya alleges role of Punjab police chief Suresh Arora and DGP (Intelligence) Dinkar Gupta in SIT probe

May 23: SIT submits final report