2G scam: Top ED officer seeks his removal alleging harassment
Pushed to the wall, Rajeshwar Singh, an Assistant Director in the ED, in an official communication of June 7 requested ED headquarters to allow him to recuse himself from the probe mid-way saying he is fed up with the increasing number of "frivolous" complaints against him.
The saga of complaints against Singh began ever since he commenced the probe into the 2G scam and matters relating to the Sahara group.
A spokesman of Sahara, when contacted, did not want to comment on the matter.
As part of his probe, Singh has till now effected ten complaints involving Rs 7,000 crore under (Foreign Exchange Management Act) FEMA against various telecom firms involved in the 2G case and he is in the process to begin similar action under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
Singh had earlier knocked at the doors of the Supreme Court where he filed a contempt case against the chief of the the Sahara group Subroto Roy which led to a notice being issued against him and two others.
A spate of complaints against Singh have been received at the head office of the ED after they were referred by the Finance Ministry.
The allegations against him relate to various matters from the mode of funding of his marriage to his possessing 86 telephone connections in the last ten years.
Finance Ministry sources said a bulk of the 50-odd complaints against Singh have been received by it from various central ministries in the last few days and they have been forwarded to the ED headquarters for "appropriate action".
The Supreme Court has listed Singh`s case for hearing on August 4 after it has asked the CBI to probe the allegations and other charges against him.
The officer has now filed a rejoinder in the apex court stating the 50 odd complaints against him are based on "forged" documents and that perjury action should be taken against those who are harassing him and placing false documents in front of the court.
"As the ED officer is probing the high-profile and sensitive 2G case, it is important the charges are investigated and he is allowed to probe the case without fear," a senior Finance Ministry official, who handled these complaints, said.
According to the contempt plea filed by Singh in front of the apex court`s bench monitoring the 2G case, his harassment and intimidation began when he, as the investigating officer in the 2G case, began probing Sahara`s alleged investments and purchase of shares in telecom firm S-Tel.
The CBI, which is probing one complaint by Singh and his colleague Sharad Choudhary that two Sahara journalists sought to bribe them for undue favours, has told the apex court on July 11 that it was probing the allegations from all angles and was looking for independent witnesses and documents.
The court on May 6 had said there was a prima facie case against Roy and two journalists– Upendra Rai and Subodh Jain — of Sahara India News Network for interfering with the 2G probe and had issued notices for contempt.
The bench on the same day suo motu issued contempt notices and took serious note of the fact that after summons were issued to the CMD of Sahara group under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, from February 2 onwards, "crude methods" were allegedly adopted to terrorise, intimidate and blackmail Singh.
The bench had also banned Sahara India News Network and its sister concerns from publishing and broadcasting any story or programme relating to Singh.
Singh has since asked the apex court to issue appropriate directions to the Sahara group and others so as to permit him to carry out investigations "without any interference" from anyone in the 2G case.