CHANDIGARH (TIP): Punjab revenue minister Bikram Singh Majithia received about Rs 35 lakh as “election fund” from Jagjit Singh Chahal, the arrested pharma company owner and the kingpin of the synthetic drugs racket, according to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) chargesheet filed in the Patiala court on March 2.
“Between 2007 and 2012, I gave Rs 35 lakh in cash to Majithia in seven or eight instalments. I used to hand over the money to Majithia in the drawing room of his 43, Green Avenue, residence in Amritsar,” Chahal said in signed statements in Punjabi made before Niranjan Singh, the Jalandhar-posted assistant director of the ED, on February 9 this year.
The statements, made under Section 50 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act and permissible in the court as evidence, are part of the ED’s voluminous chargesheet.
However, it’s noteworthy that the ED chargesheet does not directly name Majithia in this case of money-laundering. Nor has the ED produced any corroborating evidence yet to establish the veracity of Chahal’s allegations.
Significantly, Majithia had appeared before the ED on December 26 last year in connection with the drug racket. Strangely, it is after summoning Majithia that the ED again recorded Chahal’s statement on February 9, 2015, in which the latter has alleged that he gave the money to the minister. It is, however, not clear whether Chahal had made the same allegation against Majithia in his earlier confessional statements before the ED.
Majithia was questioned by assistant director Niranjan Singh, who was later transferred to Kolkata. In an interim order, the Punjab and Haryana high court has stayed Singh’s transfer.
According to the ED documents, Chahal told ED, “Eh sariyan rakman main Majithia saab di kothi ch ja ke usde drawing room which dittiyan. Jaan ton pehlan, main usde PA Kartar Singh, jo ki usda sarkari PA hai, de naal telephone the gal kar ke Majithia saab de naal meeting da sama le lenda si (Before going to meet Majithia, I used to take appointment from his PA Kartar Singh).”
One of the primary accusations against Chahal who owned pharma companies was that he was allegedly manufacturing banned precursor chemicals — ephedrine and pseudoephedrine — which were being diverted illegally for the production of synthetic drug ICE.
The ED chargesheet says another accused and Amritsar businessman Maninder Singh alias Bittu Aulakh, stated before the central agency that Majithia was “involved” in sand mining business.
In response to the ED’s question about the “business of Majithia and his business associates”, Aulakh on January 13 this year had told ED, “He (Majithia) runs a distillery in Uttar Pradesh. His trusted man for sand mining is Kanwarjit Singh alias Rosy Barkandi of Muktsar.”
On the other hand, Chahal said, “Bittu Aulakh, Majithia and Bonny Amarpal Ajnala, SAD MLA, together deal in the business of sand mining.”