The DIRECTORATE OF Enforcement (ED) assured the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Friday that it would not repatriate Gurnam Singh, deputy director in Chandigarh, till January 10, 2017. The officer has been investigating the Rs 6,000 crore Punjab drug money laundering racket as per the Chandigarh-based human rights organisation, Lawyers For Human Rights International (LFHI).
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The development happened during the hearing of an application filed by LFHI through advocate Navkiran Singh, challenging the repatriation of Gurnam Singh at a time when investigation of the Punjab drug money laundering racket had reached its final stages.
A division bench, comprising Chief Justice Shiavax Jal Vazifdar and Justice AB Chaudhari, however, said that since it was not aware of the facts of the case, it would be appropriate to adjourn the case to January 9, 2017, for the next hearing, by the regular bench, headed by Justice Surya Kant.
However, appearing for the Centre, Assistant Solicitor General Chetan Mittal submitted that Gurnam Singh was no longer involved in the investigation of the Punjab drug money laundering racket as he was the only designated authority till October 19 to pass attachment orders in drug racket cases. He added that the officer had been sent on deputation to ED and his term was extended and that will end next month. Mittal also submitted that it seems that the petitioner organisation had filed the application on behalf of Singh.
Advocate Navkiran Singh, however, submitted that the Centre wants to derail the investigation by transferring and repatriating ED officers probing the drug money laundering racket.
He added that after LFHI raised the issue, the HC had on January 21, 2015, stayed the transfer of Niranjan Singh, then ED assistant director working on this case, from Jalandhar to Kolkata. Also, the HC had on August 24, 2015, stayed the transfer of Suresh Batra, the ED prosecutor in the case, in the interest of justice.