New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Sunday sought to downplay the transfer of its main investigator in Punjab in the probe related to the high-profile Rs 6,000 crore drug money laundering case there, saying he has been "specially selected" to take over an "important assignment" in Kolkata where big scam cases like Saradha are being pursued.
The agency also rejected speculation that the transfer orders of its Jalandhar-based Assistant Director Niranjan Singh were issued after some purported phone calls between local agency officials and state politicians were detected and reported by central agencies to the ED head office here.
"It is denied that any calls were made on January 3 between a senior ED officer and some politician. It is also denied that any report was given by a central agency to ED headquarters about any calls.
"There is no truth in the news report (making the above claim) and the said report is totally unsubstantiated and false. There is also no truth in the report that transfers and postings are because of above cited reasons," ED's Deputy Director at its headquarters, Rajeshwar Singh, said in a statement.
"Similarly, based on administrative requirement, Niranjan Singh, Assistant Director, has been specially selected for an important assignment at the Kolkata office where there is a shortage of officers and very important and major money laundering cases, including Saradha chit fund, Rose Valley, Seashore and ArthTatwa are being investigated.
"He (Niranjan) has been deputed for the assignment keeping in view his investigative skills and his excellent track record in handling difficult cases," he said of the Assistant Director's transfer to the West Bengal capital.
Singh's transfer orders were issued Friday evening by the agency headquarters which led to a controversy and statements by political parties as the said officer was the main investigator in the drug money laundering case and was also part of the ED team which recently questioned Punjab Revenue Minister Bikram Majithia in Jalandhar in this connection.
The agency also refuted reports which suggested that its Special Director (North), Karnal Singh, under whose jurisdiction comes the Punjab region, has been transferred, saying he will hand over charge soon to a new officer who has been selected and appointed to the post.
"Karnal Singh, Special Director, Central Region, New Delhi, of the Directorate is holding the additional charge of Northern Region.
"Sanjay Shrinet, IRS, was selected for the post of Special Director (Northern Region) Chandigarh by the statutory committee headed by the CVC and appointed by the government to the post a few months ago.
"He is expected to join next week after he gets relieved from his parent department. Therefore, it is incorrect to say that Karnal Singh is transferred," the statement said.