DINDIGUL/MADURAI: At a time when the Enforcement Directorate (ED) is carrying out searches across India to recover “ill-gotten” money, a senior ED officer was caught red-handed and arrested by Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption officials in Dindigul on Friday while taking a bribe of Rs 20 lakh from a government doctor.
The officer allegedly told the doctor that the ED would register a case against him if he did not pay up. The DVAC conducted searches at the ED office and the officer’s home in Madurai.
The ED official, Ankit Tiwari (32), was transferred from Nagpur to Madurai four months ago. The DVAC said he called Dr Suresh Babu for an inquiry at Madurai, claiming it was on directions from the Prime Minister’s Office.
The doctor, a chief civil surgeon at the Government Medical College Hospital in Dindigul, was booked by DVAC in 2018 in a disproportionate assets case. He and his wife run a private hospital in Dindigul. On October 30, he went to the ED office but Tiwari did not allow him to meet officials. Instead, he demanded Rs 3 crore to relieve him from the case, claiming he had to give a share to senior officials in Chennai, DVAC officials said.
DVAC DSP J Nagarajan said Dr Suresh Babu and Tiwari struck a deal for Rs 51 lakh and the doctor handed over Rs 20 lakh to Tiwari on November 1. “But, Tiwari kept demanding the remaining sum. Suresh Babu informed the DVAC, which gave him chemical-coated currency notes worth Rs 20 lakh. On Friday, the sleuths caught Tiwari red-handed and arrested him after he took the money from the doctor at Kodai Road toll plaza,” he said.
ED advocates, employees try to obstruct DVAC sleuths
After the arrest, DVAC questioned Tiwari at its office in Dindigul for more than 12 hours. The DVAC sleuths also searched his house in Madurai and seized two laptops. Sources said that when they were initiating the search at Tiwari’s office, ED advocates and employees tried to stop them by claiming the DVAC needed a court order to conduct the search.
“The sleuths cited the rule and said they don’t need court order as the complainant is from Tamil Nadu and conducted the search at the ED office,” they added. Over 500 state police and central government’s Indo-Tibetan police were deployed at the ED office.
Sources said that during the search, DVAC sleuths broke the lock to Tiwari’s room and took a few important documents. They also plan to conduct searches at sites linked to ED officials in Chennai who are connected with Tiwari. DVAC presented him before Judicial Magistrate Mohana in Dindigul. Judge ordered to put him under judicial custody for 15 days.