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CAT foils Centre's bid to ease out probe officer

Author: PNS
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: December 26, 2013
URL: http://www.dailypioneer.com/todays-newspaper/cat-foils-centres-bid--to-ease-out-probe-officer.html

Tribunal orders absorption of Rajeshwar into ED permanently

 Finance Ministry’s controversial move to ease out the Chief Investigative Officer of the 2G money trail probe has been stalled by the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT). The Tribunal on Tuesday ordered absorption of Rajeshwar Singh into the permanent service of Enforcement Directorate, ratifying the UPSC’s order.

 The Principal Bench of CAT, comprising members AK Bhardwaj and PK Basu, rejected the Finance Ministry’s “untenable” contentions for not adhering to the UPSC’s order for absorbing Singh into ED.

 Singh, Deputy Director of Enforcement Directorate (ED), has been reporting to Supreme Court’s Bench monitoring the 2G Scam probe for the past three years. He joined the ED in 2007 and belongs to the Uttar Pradesh cadre.

 In 2012, the UPSC recommended that he may be absorbed into the ED permanently, but the Finance Ministry did not approve the UPSC’s proposal even though it absorbed other officers below his rank. Singh was the topper in the UPSC list.

 After this, in October 2013, Director of Enforcement Directorate recommended one year extension of service to Singh, citing the ongoing 2G cases and SC order not to transfer the investigative officers. After the Finance Ministry rejected this also, the officer proceeded on leave and approached the CAT.

 Last week, the Government approached the Supreme Court for removing Singh from probe and sought his repatriation to the UP Police.

 This Supreme Court is likely to take up the Finance Ministry’s petition when the court reopens in January. The main petitioners in the 2G cases — Subramanian Swamy and Prashant Bhushan — are expected to challenge the Centre’s move.

 Singh had invited the wrath of several corporates when he summoned controversial lobbyist Niira Radia for interrogation. Several frivolous complaints were filed against him and his family members across the country. Last year, a Supreme Court Bench headed by Justice GS Singhvi and KS Radhakrishnan had quashed all the complaints by protecting the “honest and non-pliable” officer.

 Singh is currently reporting to the apex court on 2G money trail and Aircel-Maxis scam.  From the timelines of events, it is clear that the Centre was waiting for the retirement of Justice Singhvi to file the application for Singh’s removal from the probe. Singh’s deputation from UP Police came to end in October and Singhvi retired on December 11. The Centre filed the permission to change the Officer last week.

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