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Modi who cleared Modi

Narendra Modi. File Picture.

New Delhi: The National Investigation Agency, accused of diluting terror cases against Hindu accused, is headed by an officer who was part of a probe team that gave then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi a clean chit in a 2002 riot case.

Yogesh Chander Modi, a 1984-batch Assam-and-Meghalaya-cadre IPS officer, was in the Supreme Court-appointed special investigation team that exonerated Narendra Modi in the Gulbarg Society massacre, in which 69 people were killed.

On Monday, the charges about the agency going soft on suspects linked to radical Hindu groups were repeated when a Hyderabad court acquitted five accused in the 2007 Mecca Masjid blast case.

Yogesh Modi, appointed the agency's director-general last October, is the third officer formerly involved in probing cases relating to the Gujarat riots to have bagged key posts last year from Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government.

R.K. Asthana, a Gujarat-cadre IPS officer who had overseen the initial probe into the Godhra train fire, was appointed CBI special director early last year. Former CBI chief R.K. Raghavan, who had headed the special investigation team that probed the Gujarat riots, was appointed high commissioner to Cyprus in August.

Government sources said that Yogesh Modi was among 19 IAS and IPS officers who had worked closely with chief minister Modi in Gujarat and were later brought to Delhi on central deputation after the BJP formed the central government.

Yogesh Modi was appointed an additional director in the CBI in July 2015 and served the agency for over two years before taking charge of the NIA. An NIA colleague described him as a "soft-spoken person" but agreed that his proximity to the Prime Minister may have helped him professionally.

"He is believed to be very close to both Prime Minister Modi and BJP president Amit Shah. Usually, the government of the day appoints people close to them to key posts in the NIA or other agencies," an NIA official said, requesting anonymity.

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