Punjab: HC stays lower court’s orders permitting ED to inspect case file

On Friday, single judge bench of Justice Inderjit Singh issued a notice of motion to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and stayed lower court’s orders permitting ED to inspect case file.

THE PUNJAB and Haryana High Court Friday stayed orders of local court of Ludhiana which had allowed the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to inspect case file of Rs 1,144 crore alleged Ludhiana City Centre Scam in which Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh, his son Raninder Singh, son in law Raminder Singh are among the accused.

On October 25, trial court of session judge Gurbir Singh in Ludhiana, accepting ED’s plea had permitted them to inspect case file for money laundering FIR pending for probe with ED. The inspection was scheduled for November 3.

On Friday, single judge bench of Justice Inderjit Singh issued a notice of motion to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and stayed lower court’s orders permitting ED to inspect case file. The next hearing is now scheduled for November 12.

Orders have been issued on petition of Delhi based Chetan Gupta, one of the accused in the case, who moved High Court demanding stay on ED inspection.

Karambir Singh Nalwa, counsel for Gupta, told The Indian Express, “We argued that ED is not a party in this case and thus they cannot be allowed to inspect case file. This case is between two parties- Punjab vigilance bureau and the accused. The court has issued notice of motion to ED and stayed inspection of case file by ED till November 12.”

It is alleged that a pen drive was recovered from Chetan Gupta and that he ‘handled money for Captain Amarinder Singh and his son Raninder Singh received illegally from private company M/S Today Homes’ which was given contract to construct Ludhiana City Centre.

Importantly, it is Gupta who had filed an application with vigilance on March 7, 2017, demanding re-investigation, a decade after the March 2007 filing of the FIR. This application was filed just three days before the Punjab assembly polls results which were announced on March 11, 2017 and Congress emerged victorious.

After five months of ‘re-investigation’, on August 19, 2017- the vigilance bureau tearing into its own initial enquiry report, filed closure report in the court claiming that there ‘was no scam at all’ and that ‘no proof has been found against the accused including Captain Amarinder Singh, his son Raninder Singh, son in law Raminder Singh and 33 others following a ‘re-investigation’.

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