‘Quit job out of frustration’, ED officers Niranjan Singh who probed Bhola drug racket case tells high court
Chandigarh Enforcement Directorate deputy director Niranjan Singh on Thursday told the Punjab and Haryana high court that he quit his job out of ‘frustration’ as he was not allowed to proceed against former revenue minister Bikram Singh Majithia in Jagdish Bhola drug racket case.
“He resigned out of frustration … he was not allowed to proceed against Majithia,” Niranjan’s counsel and senior advocate Anupam Gupta told court. “Not a single witness has been examined nor a single attachment order passed by investigation officers (IOs) since the probe was handed over to them. One of the IO is on leave… attempts are to suppress, defeat and frustrate the case,” Gupta told the high court, adding that these facts were part of a sealed cover report submitted by Niranjan Singh on May, 23, 2018.
The statement invited sharp reaction from assistant solicitor general Chetan Mittal. However, special bench of chief justice Krishna Murari and justice AB Chaudhari maintained that it can’t intervene on someone’s resignation. Niranjan Singh, who had put in his papers earlier this month, was present during the hearing.
Majithia was summoned by the ED twice in 2015 when Niranjan was the IO. Later, he was promoted to the post of deputy director and had merely supervisory role in the investigation. Two IOs were assigned the probe into Bhola drug case.
Majithia’s name had cropped up in confessional statements of some key accused --- businessman Jagjit Singh Chahal, who claimed he gave Majithia Rs 35 lakh as election fund. SAD leader Maninder Singh Aulakh had claimed that Majithia wanted him to ‘help’ other accused, Satpreet Satta and NRI Parminder Singh Pindi, in the case.
Majithia has rubbished all these allegations.
Gupta further said that he was ready to bring on record how Niranjan was threatened by officials from finance ministry and ED.
“ED and finance ministry officials should be charged with contempt of court for defeating the purpose of investigation,” he said.
Reacting to Gupta’s submissions, the court said it would not hesitate in taking action even against the highest authority and would initiate contempt proceedings.
Earlier, Mittal objected to the statement of Gupta arguing how he knew about the sealed cover report submitted by Niranjan. He further questioned Gupta how he was sometimes appearing as an impartial adviser and on other occasions representing Niranjan. However, Gupta submitted that he knew what he was doing and would remain associated with the case as long as the court desires.