THE ENFORCEMENT Directorate on Friday informed the Punjab and Haryana High Court that the Special Task Force (STF) setup by the agency last week will monitor the terror links in the money laundering cases arising out of the drugs cases across India, adding that it has to register enforcement case investigation report (ECIR) in next three months in around 9,800 drugs cases registered in Punjab in past two years.
Senior Advocate Maninder Singh, the special counsel for ED, during the hearing in the Bhola drugs case informed the division bench of Chief Justice Krishna Murari and Justice A.B Chaudhari that there have been certain cases of drugs smuggling in Rajasthan where the “terror links” have been connected with cases in Kashmir. Singh told the court that the need was felt for monitoring such sensitive cases and all the divisional and regional offices of ED have been asked to transfer the details and data of those cases to the STF which will be headed by a Special Director. The information will then be shared with other agencies also to deal the cases effectively, the court was told.
“Some cases of Rajasthan have links with cases of Kashmir border and some cases of Punjab have also links with Kashmir. It was felt that the monitoring is necessary to ascertain whether these cases are to be seen only through PMLA angle or in context of the terror links,” Maninder informed the court, adding the investigation in these cases will go on at their existing level only and the STF will only be for monitoring purposes to do it in a holistic manner in coordination with other agencies.
The court was further informed that last month, a direction has been issued by a division bench that ED also look into the drugs cases registered by the Punjab Police. “The first list sent by Punjab is of around 9,800 FIRs of past two years. The important cases out of them with terror links will be sent to the STF. As on today, they have only sought details but in a given case, the cases can only also be transferred to Delhi,” said Assistant Solicitor General of India, Chetan Mittal.
On Friday, the division bench asked the ED to submit a concise report on the progress of the PIL-connected drugs cases before trial courts. Meanwhile, heated arguments were witnessed between Senior Advocate Maninder Singh and Senior Advocate Anupam Gupta in the case over the order by which the court had restrained the ED from transferring its Deputy Director Niranjan Singh from the State as he had been investigating the Bhola drugs cases. While Singh argued that there is no order now asking the ED to seek court permission before transferring Niranjan, Gupta said there are orders for the protection and the ED will invite contempt in case they decided to act without court permission.