A public interest litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking a time-bound probe by Directorate of Enforcement (ED) in Chandigarh’s alleged multi-crore money laundering racket under the High Court’s supervision. There are allegations against advocate Ajay Mittal, his brother and Assistant Solicitor General (ASJ) of India Chetan Mittal, Justice Hemant Gupta, their family members and associates.
Although the petition came up for hearing before the division bench comprising Justices SK Mittal and Mahavir Singh Chauhan on Friday, the bench recused from hearing the case.
Petitioners Jaskaran Grewal and Gurcharan Singh of Punjab have alleged that the “influence of Politico-Police-Advocates-Judge nexus” has worked on the powers to get ED’s Assistant Legal Advisor, Suresh Kumar Batra, transferred to Bengaluru and in the larger pubic interest his transfer should be stayed. It has been submitted that Batra was handling two “high-profile and sensitive cases” — multi-crore Punjab drug racket case and Chandigarh money laundering case — and was transferred to Bengaluru recently. The petition also refers to the transfer of ED’s Assistant Director Niranjan Singh, who is probing Punjab drug racket case, earlier in January from Jalandhar to Kolkata that was later stayed by the High Court.
“It is not understandable as to why pivotal officers are transferred at the most crucial stage of investigation,” the petition reads.
The petition also says, “from the aforementioned facts it is apparent that since the case involves highly influential people such as Honourable Mr Hemant Gupta and Chetan Mittal ASJ (ED’s Counsel), there is every possibility of influencing and interference in fair investigation in the ECIR (Enforcement Case Information Report). Rather, the interference has already been pointed out by the Assistant Director ED Chandigarh Gopesh Byadwal.”
The ED had registered ECIR in the case on March 26, 2013, under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002. ED had later conducted searches at six premises including that of advocate Mukesh Mittal and his associates on January 13 this year resulting in seizure of “highly incriminating documents” relating to several shell companies, including 214 blank signed cheques, records of several shell companies with no business activities and heavy financial transactions.
Later Ajay Singh, advocate Mukesh Mittal’s clerk and two others, had approached the High Court challenging the case registered ED) against them. After hearing the arguments, the division bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Shiavax Jal Vazifdar and Gurmeet Singh Sandhawalia had reserved the judgment on July 15 which is yet to be pronounced.