ED shifted In­der­jit drug case to Ni­ran­jan’s ju­nior in Sept

Hindustan Times (Patiala) - - Punjab - Sukhdeep Kaur sukhdeep.kaur@hin­dus­tan­times.com n

CHANDI­GARH: En­force­ment Direc­torate (ED) deputy direc­tor Ni­ran­jan Singh was di­rected to hand over the probe into the high-pro­file drug case in­volv­ing dis­missed Pun­jab Po­lice in­spec­tor In­der­jit Singh to his sub­or­di­nate in Septem­ber, nearly nine months af­ter he took over the case.

In­der­jit was ar­rested by the anti-drug spe­cial task force (STF) of the Pun­jab Po­lice in June last year with 4 kg heroin and il­le­gal arms.

On Ni­ran­jan’s re­quest, the STF had shared the case files with ED af­ter fil­ing a chargesheet against In­der­jit on Novem­ber 20.

But last month, the case was trans­ferred from Ni­ran­jan to his sub­or­di­nate, an as­sis­tant direc­tor, against whom he has writ­ten sev­eral notes to high-ups say­ing there was “no progress” in cases be­ing ex­am­ined by him, in­clud­ing the Jagdish Bhola drug case.

“Ni­ran­jan Singh was ap­pointed as su­per­vi­sory of­fi­cer of the on­go­ing drug cases by the Pun­jab and Haryana high court af­ter he was pro­moted from the post of as­sis­tant direc­tor to deputy direc­tor in 2016. He was ear­lier the in­quiry of­fi­cer. But he had noth­ing to su­per­vise as there was no progress in in­ves­ti­ga­tions,” an ED of­fi­cial said.

On Thurs­day, Ni­ran­jan had told the high court that he had re­signed on Oc­to­ber 5 due to “frus­tra­tion” over not be­ing al­lowed to pro­ceed against the ac­cused in Bhola drug case. The of­fi­cer with­drew his let­ter seek­ing vol­un­tary re­tire­ment on Fri­day.

Cit­ing rea­sons be­hind Ni­ran­jan’s res­ig­na­tion, his coun­sel and se­nior ad­vo­cate Anu­pam Gupta had told the high court on Thurs­day: “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 IOs is on leave… at­tempts are to sup­press, de­feat and frus­trate the case.”

He had said these facts were part of a sealed cover re­port sub­mit­ted by Ni­ran­jan on May 23 this year to the HC.

THE KANDOLA LINK

Ni­ran­jan’s link to the In­der­jit case is Raja Kandola, one of the king­pins of the multi-crore drug racket, who was ar­rested by In­der­jit in 2012. He was prob­ing Kandola’s case since 2013 and has filed chargesheets against the ac­cused un­der the Preven­tion of Money Laun­der­ing Act (PMLA).

Af­ter In­der­jit’s ar­rest, the STF was prob­ing his al­leged com­plic­ity with for­mer Moga SSP Raj Jit Singh in drug traf­fick­ing. But the mat­ter es­ca­lated to a “DGP ver­sus DGPs” war af­ter Raj Jit moved the HC de­mand­ing the probe be shifted from STF, ac­cus­ing its then chief Harpreet Sidhu of bias.

In De­cem­ber last year, the HC had set up a spe­cial in­ves­ti­ga­tion team (SIT) un­der DGP (PSPCL) Sid­dharth Chat­topad­hyaya for prob­ing charges against Raj Jit.

Both SIT re­port and Chat­topad­hyaya’s per­sonal re­port in which he has lev­elled al­le­ga­tions against two se­nior cops is yet to be opened by the HC. Raj Jit was shunted out in July as Moga SSP af­ter Pun­jab min­is­ters pressed chief min­is­ter Amarinder Singh to take ac­tion against “drug­tainted cops”.

Ni­ran­jan re­fused to com­ment on the trans­fer of the In­der­jit case. On his res­ig­na­tion, he said he with­drew his re­quest for vol­un­tary re­tire­ment on Fri­day. “Since I had re­signed, there were many ap­peals from pub­lic, my fam­ily and friends to re­con­sider it. I will take the fight against drugs to its log­i­cal con­clu­sion,” he said.

Ni­ran­jan had sum­moned for­mer min­is­ter Bikram Singh Ma­jithia in the Bhola drug case in De­cem­ber 2014. Ma­jithia had de­nied any links with NRIs Sat­preet Satta and Par­min­der Singh Pindi named by his for­mer elec­tion agent Manin­der Singh alias Bittu Au­lakh and Am­rit­sar busi­ness­man Jagjit Singh Cha­hal be­fore the po­lice and ED, which is prob­ing the money laun­der­ing an­gle.

Au­lukh and Cha­hal were ar­rested in the ED case and are still in jail. Ni­ran­jan had again sum­moned Ma­jithia in June 2016 but the lat­ter had not ap­peared be­fore him.

ED direc­tor Kar­nal Singh and joint direc­tor of its Pun­jab head­quar­ters in Jalandhar, Girish Bali, did not re­spond to calls and mes­sages for a re­sponse on the trans­fer of In­der­jit case.

PUN­JAB’S ANTI­DRUG STF HAD AR­RESTED FOR­MER IN­SPEC­TOR IN­DER­JIT LAST YEAR WITH DRUGS AND ARMS

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