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Punjab

Posted at: Oct 12, 2018, 1:30 AM; last updated: Oct 12, 2018, 1:30 AM (IST)

‘Frustration’ in Majithia case made Niranjan quit, HC told

‘Frustration’ in Majithia case made Niranjan quit, HC told

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11

Sheer frustration over not being allowed to proceed against former Punjab Cabinet Minister Bikram Singh Majithia compelled Enforcement Directorate’s Deputy Director Niranjan Singh to submit his resignation, his counsel told the Punjab and Haryana High Court today.

As the drug menace case came up for resumed hearing before the Division Bench of Chief Justice Krishna Murari and Justice AB Chaudhari, senior advocate Anupam Gupta and PIL-petitioner’s counsel Navkiran Singh launched an attack on Majithia for the circumstances forcing Niranjan Singh to put in his papers.

“Niranjan Singh resigned last week out of sheer frustration as the ED did not allow him to proceed against Majithia… He was revenue minister with the previous government; and the government at the Centre had a political alliance with it. He wielded tremendous clout,” Gupta submitted.

Gupta added he could tell the court how Niranjan Singh was threatened directly and indirectly by the Union Ministry of Finance in connection with the matter known as the Bhola drugs case.

Referring to a one-page note submitted by Niranjan Singh before the Bench in May, Gupta added that the investigating officer under him did not do anything. 

Objecting to the line of argument, Assistant Solicitor General of India Chetan Mittal questioned Gupta’s locus standi to raise the issues. He also asked Gupta to clarify whether he was appearing for Niranjan Singh, Punjab DGP Siddharth Chattopadhyay looking into an aspect of the case, or as amicus curiae (friend of the court).

The Bench asserted it would look into the matter. “Rest assured if we find action is required, this court will not hesitate to act even against the highest authority, whosoever he may be.”

Navkiran Singh contended that Niranjan Singh was transferred out after he summoned Majithia, but the orders were stayed by the High Court.

In accordance with the orders, he started submitting reports to the court. But he could not submit the report during the past two dates as there was no hearing. “He resigned in frustration. The court should, as such, issue directions for non-acceptance of his resignation.” 

The Bench, in turn, asserted that issuance of such directions was not feasible; and the officer could withdraw his resignation.

‘Govt in contempt’

No officer was given to him… Not even a single witness was examined; not even a single property was attached. I am not focusing on Majithia,  but the Ministry of Finance and the Enforcement Directorate are in contempt. —Counsel for Niranjan Singh 

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