NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday sought response of the Tamil Nadu government on a plea of the Enforcement Directorate seeking transfer of the probe in a case against its officer, arrested by the Tamil Nadu Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption on charges of bribe, to the CBI.
A bench of Justices Surya Kant and KV Viswanathan issued notice to the Tamil Nadu government and sought its response in two weeks.
The bench asked the Tamil Nadu Police to produce before it on the next date of hearing, the materials collected in the bribery case, after Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the ED, alleged that files related to investigation against ministers were taken away.
Justice Kant asked senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Amit Anand Tiwari, appearing for the Tamil Nadu government, to not proceed with the investigation in the bribery case, till the next date of hearing of the matter.
When the bench asked Mehta whether the ED has also booked the officer, accused of taking the bribe, the law officer replied in the affirmative and said the agency also wants to investigate him.
"Ok, you (ED) also don't proceed in the case," Justice Kant said as he asked both the TN government and the ED to suggest a mechanism for investigation in the federal structure of the country.
"We don't want criminals in genuine cases to go scot-free amid the allegations and counter-allegations over investigation in the federal structure," the bench said.
Justice Viswanathan said, "This is just the starting. If this happens in different states where ED officers are posted, what will happen to this country? You have to suggest best practices so that a mechanism could be evolved for investigation in our federal structure."
The bench also pulled up the Tamil Nadu government for not sharing FIRs with the ED, saying FIRs should have been uploaded on the website of police.
The ED, in its plea, has also sought a direction to the TN government to appoint a nodal officer for sharing with it all FIRs registered in the state as regards scheduled offences under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
On December 1, 2023, the ED officer was arrested by the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) of the Tamil Nadu government for allegedly demanding and accepting a bribe of Rs 20 lakh from a government employee.