ED seeks FIR against DVAC sleuths for illegally entering Madurai office, ‘stealing’ sensitive case records

The DVAC accessed sensitive case records, information, and internal documents of ED related to probes with no link to the case at hand, it said.

ByVinodh Arulappan

Published Dec 03, 2023 | 7:02 PMUpdated Dec 03, 2023 | 7:03 PM

ED seeks FIR against DVAC sleuths for illegally entering Madurai office, ‘stealing’ sensitive case records

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has written to Tamil Nadu Director General of Police (DGP) Shankar Jiwal to book certain Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) officials.

It has claimed that these DVAC personnel illegally entered the ED sub-zonal office in Madurai and stole various sensitive case records of the central probe agency.

The DVAC was said to be investigating allegations that ED officer Ankit Tiwari had taken bribes from a Tamil Nadu government official to apparently cover-up a case against him.

Related: In a first, TN Vigilance Department arrests ED officer for taking bribe

The ED letter

The ED’s Madurai Sub-Zonal Office Assistant Director (AD) Brijesh Beniwal, in his complaint letter, stated that around 1.15 pm on 1 December, two persons claiming to be Intelligence Bureau (IB) officers, visited the ED’s office.

He claimed that when they were asked for their identity cards and the purpose of their visit, the duo slipped away.

Beniwal alleged that, around 2.30 pm the same day, around 35 persons in civil dress, claiming to be DVAC sleuths, came along with mediapersons and forcibly entered the ED office in Madurai. He said they were there till the next morning.

“When we asked about their identity cards and the purpose of their visit, they were simply reluctant to provide any identity cards and barged in. Only one Mr M Sathyaseelan, deputy superintendent of police, V&AC, Madurai Department, had given his introduction,” said the ED letter.

“No search warrant whatsoever was shown. The so-called police persons were not in uniform and were without badges,” it added.

Related: ED officer in judicial custody as DVAC seizes documents

Allegations of procedure violation

The AD also alleged that the 35 DVAC personnel entered the room of Officer Ankit Tiwari and opened case files that had no relation to the case for which the search was apparently ordered.

“The room of Mr Ankit Tiwari, EO, ED, Madurai, was locked intermittently during this search; therefore, the search team consisting of unauthorised persons having access to records of ED in private,” he said.

The officer also alleged that the DVAC personnel ransacked the entire office and were continuously speaking with various persons, giving information about various records and taking instructions.

When the panchanama (evidence record) was drawn, the ED officials were shocked to see that there were only four persons authorised for the search, along with two witnesses, said the assistant director.

He added: “The identity of those 35 persons who were in the ED office were unknown. How many records were stolen — as of now — is also not ascertainable. We are in the process of ascertaining the same. How many documents were copied and what could be their misuse is also not known.”

He also said: “There are many cases that require the protection of witnesses since the ED is investigating many powerful persons in the state. The 35 persons present have not disclosed their identity. These 35 persons have not offered or allowed their search either at the time of entry or exit. We have a video recording which shows the presence of 35 persons.”

He also claimed that witnesses were not introduced upfront, and who was what became known only at the time of the panchanama.

Also read: DVAC raids former Dharmapuri district collector S Malarvizhi

ED asks DGP to register FIR

The AD said in his letter to the state DGP that the alleged search conducted by the DVAC is not only illegal but also mala fide.

He thus requested the top cop to file an FIR against the DVAC sleuths for criminal trespass under Section 447 and criminal intimidation under Section 506 of the IPC.

He also requested that these DVAC personnel be booked under Section 378 read with Section 380 of the IPC for stealing various sensitive case records of ED, Section 353 for illegally accessing various sensitive case records and taking copies in mobile and other electronic media, which could jeopardise investigations, and Sections 447 and 506 for the entry of unauthorised persons in the office.