The tussle between the Enforcement Directorate (ED), a central agency, and Tamil Nadu’s Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) has intensified after an ED official was arrested by DVAC on December 1 on bribery charges. The ED has now filed a complaint with the Director General of Police (DGP) Shankar Jiwal against DVAC. The complaint comes in the wake of raids carried out by DVAC in the ED’s Madurai office.
The tussle started after DVAC arrested Ankit Tiwari, an ED officer, on bribery charges to the tune of Rs 20 lakh. The DVAC said at the time that Ankit had been taking bribes to close cases. Raids were also carried out at Ankit's residence on December 1.
In the police complaint filed by the ED’s assistant director of the Madurai sub-zonal office, Brijesh Beniwal called the raids “illegal” and said “unknown persons” were allowed to enter the premises. He also alleged that “confidential and sensitive ED records pertaining to ongoing investigations into several sensitive cases” were removed from the Madurai office.
Brijesh further states that the raids which began at 1.15 pm on December 1 continued until 7.15 am the following day. “Around 2.30 pm, around 35 persons including those in civil dress claiming to be police from DVAC along with media and a mob forcefully entered the ED office, Madurai. When we asked for their identity card and purpose of visit, they were simply reluctant to provide any and barged in. Only one M Sathyaseelan, Deputy Superintendent of Police, DVAC, Madurai, gave his introduction. No search warrant whatsoever was shown. The so-called police persons were not in uniform and were without badges,” he adds.
The Madurai office’s assistant director also claims that during the search, case files that had no relation to the investigation into Ankit Tiwari were opened, sensitive case records and internal documents of the ED were accessed and that Ankit Tiwari’s office had been sealed. Brijesh says that when the record for the search was drawn up only four persons along with 2 witnesses were mentioned. According to the ED, no mention has been made on record of 35 unidentified persons who remained in the Madurai office during the search.
Calling the whole operation “illegal and malafide”, the ED has demanded that an FIR be registered against DVAC.
DVAC’s case against Ankit Tiwari
On December 1, DVAC officials arrested Ankit Tiwari on the Madurai-Dindigul national highway. Cash worth Rs 20 lakh was also seized from him. According to a press release from DVAC on the evening of the arrest, Ankit Tiwari, on October 29, had allegedly contacted a government employee from Dindigul regarding a closed DVAC case registered against the said person. He also allegedly told the employee that the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) had asked the ED to investigate the matter. He then asked the employee to appear before the ED office in Madurai on October 30 for an investigation.
However, when the employee went to this Madurai meeting, Ankit allegedly got into his car and demanded a bribe of Rs 3 crore to close the case. Later, after claiming to have spoken to his senior officials, Ankit purportedly said that the final bribe amount was to be Rs 51 lakh.
The government employee, who had already paid Rs 20 lakh, grew suspicious of Ankit eventually and notified the Dindigul office of DVAC on November 30. The following day, according to DVAC, Ankit was caught red handed accepting another Rs 20 lakh, the second installment of the alleged bribe.
In the press release, DVAC also said, “It has come to light that [Ankit Tiwari] has collected crores of money by blackmailing many people and distributed the shares to his fellow enforcement officials.”