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regular-article-logo Sunday, 25 February 2024

Enforcement Directorate cries ‘illegal’ search by Tamil Nadu police at Madurai office

In its complaint, ED accuses Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-corruption sleuths of trespassing

Our Special Correspondent New Delhi Published 04.12.23, 06:15 AM
Representational image.

Representational image. File picture

The Enforcement Directorate has registered a complaint with Tamil Nadu police alleging that the searches conducted by the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-corruption (DVAC) at its Madurai office were “illegal”.

On Saturday, sleuths of the DVAC, the anti-graft agency of the Tamil Nadu government, had raided the sub-divisional office of the ED, a day after a senior official of the federal agency, Ankit Tiwari, was arrested on charges of accepting a bribe of Rs 20 lakh from a state government employee.

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In its complaint on Sunday, the ED alleged that the DVAC’s raid on its office premises and subsequent searches were “illegal” and accused DVAC sleuths of trespassing.

The complaint said the DVAC conducted an “illegal search” and permitted unauthorised unknown persons to enter the ED office, allowing them to allegedly see, take copies of and take away confidential and sensitive ED records pertaining to the ongoing probe into several sensitive cases.

Sources in the DVAC said the sleuths only searched the accused’s office in Madurai and claimed to have seized “incriminating documents”. The search was conducted, sources said, to ascertain how many similar scams were being run by the accused.

In a statement the DVAC had earlier said the accused ED official, Tiwari, had alerted the complainant of a vigilance case registered against him and initially demanded Rs 3 crore from him to help him escape legal action. The bribe money was later negotiated to Rs 51 lakh. On Friday, Tiwari was caught red-handed while accepting a bribe of Rs 20 lakh as the first installment.

Tiwari was the second ED official arrested on graft charges within a month.

On November 2, the Rajasthan anti-corruption bureau arrested ED official Naval Kishore Meena on the charge of accepting a bribe of Rs 15 lakh to settle a matter relating to a chit fund scam. The ED has suspended Meena.

Opposition leaders have long accused the Narendra Modi government of using investigative agencies like the ED to harass and malign political rivals.

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