Enforcement Directorate officer who quizzed Punjab minister transferred, opposition slams move

Chandigarh (IANS): An enforcement directorate official, who had recently questioned Punjab Revenue Minister Bikram Singh Majithia on money laundering allegations, has been shifted to Kolkata, drawing strong criticism from opposition parties which accused the central government of a cover-up.

Assistant Director Niranjan Singh, Friday transferred from Jalandhar to Kolkata, had recently questioned Majithia for over four hours along with other ED officials in Jalandhar following allegations of his links with three NRIs being investigated for money laundering connected to a Rs.6,000 crore international synthetic drugs racket busted by Punjab Police in 2013.

Majithia is the younger brother of union minister Harsimrat Badal, who is wife of Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal.

Punjab Congress president Partap Singh Bajwa Saturday attacked the Narendra Modi central government and the Parkash Singh Badal state government for “conspiring to hush up the investigations against Majithia and other Akali leaders by transferring the ED officer” mid-way in the probe.

“This is a criminal conspiracy to hush up this narco-terrorism racket by the ruling powers as Majithia is among the most powerful leaders being the brother-in-law of Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and brother of Union Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal,” Bajwa said here.

The ED is under the finance ministry.

Bajwa also noted out that ED officials in the region had approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court against the harassment by the Punjab Police for the last several days which was aimed at putting pressure on them.

Bajwa sought a CBI inquiry into the racket and also demanded the ED’s investigation should be transferred out of the state “so that the officers are able to carry out their probe without intimidation of the Punjab Police”.

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) spokesperson Ahbaab Singh Grewal said that the transfer of ED official Niranjan Singh right after he questioned Majithia had raised many questions.

He said that ED officials had complained to their senior officials in Delhi regarding their phones being tapped by Punjab Police and they being pestered for information regarding the filing of ‘challan’ in this case.