ED transfers main investigating officer in Punjab drugs case

 The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has transferred its main investigator probing cases related to the high-profile Rs 6,000 crore drugs money laundering crime in Punjab during which state Revenue Minister Bikram Majithia was among others questioned.

PTI| Last Updated: Jan 17, 2015, 20:00 PM IST

New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has transferred its main investigator probing cases related to the high-profile Rs 6,000 crore drugs money laundering crime in Punjab during which state Revenue Minister Bikram Majithia was among others questioned.

The decision to transfer ED's Assistant Director Niranjan Singh based in Jalandhar to Kolkata was slammed by Congress which alleged political expediency behind the move and demanded Prime Minister Narendra Modi's intervention for a probe by CBI or a Supreme Court judge into the drug scam.

Sources said today the transfer orders were issued last evening by the agency's headquarters here.

It is believed that Singh was transferred on the ground that many important cases like the Saradha and Rose Valley scams are being probed there and his services would be better used there.

Singh was the main investigator in the drugs money laundering case and he was also part of the team which recently questioned Majithia in the same case in Jalandhar.

The officer was also the main officer for probe into a number of money laundering and forex violations cases that are being conducted in the state for a long time now.

"The officer has been transferred to Kolkata. There is no connection with his transfer and the drugs case he was probing. It was felt his services were more required in Kolkata and the regional in-charge there had requested ED headquarters to send some good officers," sources in the agency said.

They said Singh is being sent on "an important" assignment in Kolkata and because of his good work he is being given a "challenging work".

The officer, last year, along with few other sleuths of the agency was awarded the best ED investigator award at a ceremony and is known as one the finest in the domain of money laundering and foreign exchange violation cases.

Attacking Shiromani Akali Dal and BJP, Punjab Congress chief Pratap Singh Bajwa wrote to Modi slamming the "conspiracy to hush up this narco-terrorism racket by the ruling powers" and sought transfer of the case outside the state as well as immediate revocation of the order shunting out IO Niranjan Singh.

Bajwa linked the transfer decision to the questioning of Majithia in the multi-crore drugs scam probe, noting that he is the brother-in-law of the Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and had also "spearheaded the electoral campaign of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley from Amritsar Lok Sabha constituency".

Majithia has maintained that all allegations related to the drug racket are "baseless and without evidence".

"It is abundantly clear that the reasons for transferring him from Punjab are purely on account of political expediency and convenience.... It is most unfortunate that the rule of law is being sacrificed at the altar of political expediency especially in view of the fact that your party requires the support of the SAD-Badal for the forthcoming Delhi elections," Bajwa said.

Congress leader Manish Tewari said the transfer was an "extremely disturbing and regrettable development".