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ED Joint Director Rajeshwar Singh attacks Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia, asks if he is 'siding with scamsters'

New Delhi: Rajeshwar Singh, a joint director in the Enforcement Directorate who probed the 2G scam and Aircel Maxis case, has made a scathing attack on Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia asking him if he has developed animosity against him by "siding with scamsters and their affiliates".

In his letter dated 11 June 2018 forwarded to the Revenue Secretary by Enforcement Directorate Chief Karnal Singh, Singh asked a series of uncomfortable questions from Adhia, suggesting that his promotion was being delayed, national security compromised and scores settled because of an "ego trip".

 ED Joint Director Rajeshwar Singh attacks Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia, asks if he is siding with scamsters

File image of Finance Secretary Hasmukh Adhia. PIB.

After the release of the letter on Wednesday, the Enforcement Directorate came out in support of Singh, who has proceeded on leave, saying he is a responsible officer with an outstanding career record. In its formal statement, the Directorate said, "To put the record straight Dr Rajeshwar Singh received a call in 2016 from a person based out of Dubai who gave important information regarding a case being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate." "Dr Rajeshwar Singh passed on this information to the Directorate and the same was used in the investigation of the case. It is important to note that he received only one call and that too it was an incoming call from this person in Dubai," the agency said.

Singh, who was attached to investigations in various cases including Aircel-Maxis and Noida Ponzi scam, was not available for comment. But sources close to him said he had decided to proceed on leave as he was not allowed to function and there was a "hostile" atmosphere against him.

While Adhia did not reply to messages sent to him seeking comment, sources in the finance ministry said charges levelled by Singh against the Revenue Secretary are absolutely baseless. The sources questioned that timing of leaking the letter after Supreme Court today told the government that it was free to look into the "serious" allegations against Singh, apparently withdrawing the immunity from probe given by it to the officer earlier.

The Supreme Court's observations came after the counsel of central government submitted a secret report in sealed cover apparently carrying details of a phone call received by Singh from Dubai. The central government also told the court that it was open for investigations of allegations against Singh. "The officer of ED who is under a cloud, as acknowledged by Supreme Court also, is now trying to make undue allegations just to save his skin. If he is a clean officer why is there a need for him to worry? Let an independent inquiry prove so," a source said.

The Supreme Court today said the Centre was free to look into the "serious" charges against ED officer Rajeshwar Singh, probing the "highly sensitive" 2G spectrum allocation scam cases including the Aircel-Maxis deal. "You are simply an officer. You can't be given a blanket clean chit. Everybody is accountable. You must be accountable for any action. We need to ensure that you are accountable. We don't want to damage you or comment against you. There are very serious allegations against you," the bench of Justices Arun Mishra and S K Kaul told the officer.

In the letter to Adhia, Rajeshwar Singh has said, "It pained me further that you have expressed many a times to senior officers over casual conversations that I have been manipulating the judiciary, especially the Supreme Court of India." "It is strange and also unbelievable that after so many years in public service, you believe that so many judges can be manipulated and that too over such a long period of time," he said.

The officer said journalist Upendra Rai, who was intimidating him and leading a malicious campaign against him, his investigations and his office, has access to corridors of power in the Finance Ministry. "Your silence on this issue is misunderstood by many to be your implicit support for the fixers of his ilk to demonise officers who believe in their convictions," he said. He said former finance minister P Chidambaram "sported an open and direct grudge against him" because of the Supreme Court-monitored Aircel-Maxis investigation. "However, what thoroughly baffles the undersigned (Singh), is the animosity you have fashioned against me by siding with scamsters and their affiliates in a sustained manner. It has become more than difficult for me to survive this continued onslaught and persistent vilification from all the quarters for doing my job," he said.

Singh alleged his promotion became due from 1 April 2017 but it has not yet been processed in the ministry as officers close to Adhia are raking up complaints, levelled by journalist Rai, against him in the Central Vigilance Commission. "I am astutely aware that this is being done to not just humiliate me but also to ensure that the investigation in certain crucial cases I handle, ought to derail. May I beg to ask if you are compromising on larger aspects of our national interest to set scores on an ego trip that is absolutely uncontested from my side," he said.

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Updated Date: Jun 28, 2018 09:57:36 IST