Frivolous petitions against ED officer surface again on day of PC’s grilling
As the Aircel-Maxis scam probe involving former Finance Minister P Chidambaram gains momentum, frivolous petitions against the Enforcement Directorate’s Investigating Officer Rajeshwar Singh have once again started surfacing. This continues despite Supreme Court’s repeated orders against such petitions.
This time, on the day (June 5), the Investigating Officer along with his team was interrogating Chidambaram, a new petition was filed against Singh before the Vacation Bench of the Supreme Court. The petition was a rehash of the contents of the old petitions, which had led the Supreme Court to take strong exception to the earlier petitioners.
The Vacation Bench headed by Justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and Ashok Bhushan directed the new petition to be tagged before the 2G Bench of Supreme Court on its next hearing on July 3. The new petitioner Rajneesh Kapur’s petition made the same old allegations that were earlier rejected by the 2G Bench of the Supreme Court.
Apart from the old rejected allegations that Rajeshwar Singh amassed thousands of crores of assets, the new petition also went on with a new allegation that the probe officer is a “threat to sovereignty of the Nation”.
The “threat to sovereignty” of the country complaint was earlier filed by anonymous petitioners to the Finance Ministry, when Singh’s promotion as Additional Director was due.
A Bench headed by Justice Chelameswar had in October last year barred the Government from proceeding on this frivolous complaint. In his petition to the SC, Singh alleged the complaints were generated at the behest of Chidambaram’s son Karti and the fake complaint was made days after the ED attached the latter’s bank accounts in connection with the two million dollar bribe in Aircel-Maxis probe.
The PMO had directed intelligence agencies to probe into the origin of the fake petitions. The agencies reported that certain bureaucrats and power brokers were attempting to intimidate the officer who is leading the probes against many corrupt politicians and corporate bigwigs.
The fake complaints started against Singh days after he summoned controversial lobbyist Niira Radia in October 2010. But in mid 2011, the Supreme Court quashed all allegations and directed the Government Departments not to entertain such frivolous petitions without its approval. The court also slapped contempt charges against the petitioners Sahara Group owner Subrata Roy and journalists Upendra Rai and Subodh Jain.
In December 2013, the Finance Ministry under Chidambaram ordered relieving Singh from the ED and his repatriation to his parent cadre in UP Police. It also ordered withholding his promotion. This strange order came after the UPSC absorbed the officer permanently in ED. On BJP leader Subramanian Swamy’s petition, Supreme Court ordered the Centre to absorb Singh permanently in ED within three days. But the Finance Ministry continued services cases against him in all forums up to Supreme Court till 2016 only to lose all of them.
After seven years, Upendra Rai again filed a similar petition against the Investigating Officer. This petition was filed in March 2018, a week after the 2G Bench ordered the CBI and ED to finish the probe in Aircel-Maxis scam within six months. The main petitioners, Swamy, Prashant Bhushan and Singh’s advocate Mukul Rohtagi, asked the Supreme Court to verify the merit of the allegations and impose strict actions against Rai, who on Friday got bail after 40 days of imprisonment for money laundering and creation of fake documents.
Rai had withdrawn the complaints, when he was caught for rehashing the old rejected petitions. Swamy and Bhushan sought action against Rai for frivolous petitions to intimidate the investigating officers in 2G scam. This case is now posted for July 3 before the 2G Bench of Supreme Court headed by Justice AK Sikri.
The current petition filed before the Vacation Bench also relies on the complaints of Subodh Jain, who faced contempt of court for the frivolous allegations in 2011.
Talking to The Pioneer, Singh said the he will file his version before the 2G Bench of Supreme Court seeking strict action against these repeated offenders trying to intimidate him for the past eight years.
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