The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Go-ahead to charge ex-ED official

New Delhi, Nov. 27: The finance ministry yesterday gave the green signal to the CBI to prosecute former Enforcement Directorate deputy director Ashok Agarwal in the disproportionate assets case.

Sources said the CBI had written to the ministry last May, seeking permission to chargesheet Agarwal, an Indian Revenue Service officer of the 1985 batch. Under Section 197 of the Criminal Procedure Code, investigating agencies have to take approval of the appointing authority before prosecuting public servants.

Now that the CBI has received the sanction, the agency is expected to file the chargesheet in a week in the court of the special CBI judge in the capital, a senior agency official said. The CBI has accused Agarwal of amassing wealth to the tune of Rs 12.5 crore disproportionate to his known sources of income.

The finance ministry approval has come as a boost for the CBI, which alleged that Agarwal had tried to stall proceedings.

Apart from Agarwal, the CBI had also booked his wife, parents, two brothers, their wives and a chartered account for allegedly being the beneficiaries of the money. A senior CBI officer alleged that Rs 12.5 crore was just a portion of the wealth Agarwal had accumulated, as most of the money was siphoned off to Atlanta in the US.

The agency is still awaiting a reply to the Letter Rogatory it had sent to US authorities more than a year back, requesting information on investments Agarwal had made in that country.

It was alleged that the illegal money obtained through corrupt means was laundered through eight bogus firms — front companies Agarwal was accused of creating on paper to convert his black money into white.

During investigation the CBI found that the IRS officer had opened four bank accounts in the names of non-existent people. Of the various properties said to be possessed by Agarwal was a shop at the World Trade Tower and a multi-storied office complex in the Barakhamba area of central Delhi, the CBI alleged.

The CBI had received the finance ministry’s permission sometime back to prosecute Agarwal in another case of falsely implicating a Delhi-based jeweller while he was the ED assistant director.

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