» News »  ED grills Punjab minister in drug money laundering case

ED grills Punjab minister in drug money laundering case

Source: PTI
Last updated on: December 26, 2014 14:44 IST
Get Rediff News in your Inbox:

Punjab Revenue Minister Bikram Singh Majithia was on Friday questioned by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with the alleged Rs 6,000 crore money laundering drugs racket case.

Official sources said Majithia reached the ED office in Jalandhar, at the stipulated time of 11 am, where a criminal case has been launched under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act to probe this case.

"Majithia's statement will be recorded under PMLA laws and the questioning is in progress," the sources said.

The ED has been probing an international drug racket, which was unearthed with the arrest of an NRI, Anoop Singh Kahlon, by the Fatehgarh Sahib Police in March 2013 and Majithia's name came under the scanner after statements were recorded of other accused in the case.

After the issue of summons Majithia had assured full cooperation with the central investigating agency.

ED investigators had also sought Majithia's financial statements and transactions for the last few years which are expected to be submitted by the Minister to the investigators during the course of questioning on Friday.

Further probe in the case had led to the arrest of alleged kingpin Jagdish Bhola, a dismissed DSP of Punjab Police, in November last year.

Based on Bhola's revelations, Amritsar businessmen Bittu Aulakh and Jagjit Singh Chahal, who owns pharma companies, were also arrested.

While Bhola and Bittu Aulakh are in jail, Chahal was granted bail in March this year.

All the three accused -- Bhola, Bittu and Chahal -- and Bittu's father Master Partap Singh have been interrogated and their statements recorded by the ED.

Chahal and Bittu's father, in their statements, had alleged that the Minister knew Canada-based drug dealers Satpreet Satta and Parbinder Singh alias Pindi, sources had said earlier.

Chahal, in his statement, has said that Satta was provided two gunmen and a chauffeur-driven car by Majithia during his stay in India.

He has also corroborated Bhola's statement that Satta and Pindi were present at Majithia's marriage, ED sources had said.

Chahal owns pharma companies which were allegedly manufacturing precursor chemicals -- ephedrine and pseudoephedrine -- that were being diverted illegally for the production of synthetic drug ICE.

Reacting to the summons which had been issued recently, main opposition Congress had sought Majithia's resignation.

Punjab Congress chief Partap Singh Bajwa had sought Majithia's resignation and reminded him that earlier then jails minister Sarwan Singh Phillaur had resigned in the same case when the name of his son had surfaced.

Meanwhile, activists of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, the youth wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party, held a protest demonstration near the ED office.  

They raised slogans and demanded that Majithia should tender his resignation as Punjab minister.

Image: Punjab Revenue Minister Bikram Singh Majithia

Get Rediff News in your Inbox:
Source: PTI© Copyright 2020 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.