The conflict between the Tamil Nadu government and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has reached new heights, with each launching separate investigations into an alleged bribery case involving an ED officer currently in custody.
The central agency has moved its probe against its own officer and officials from the state's vigilance and anti-corruption department (DVAC) to its New Delhi headquarters, citing fears of non-cooperation and interference by the state police, as reported by The Times Of India.
The escalation began on 2 December when Tamil Nadu's DVAC arrested ED officer Ankit Tiwari in Madurai and conducted searches at the ED's local office.
The ED promptly wrote to the state director general of police, urging him to register an FIR against state vigilance officials for alleged trespass on its premises.
The ED claimed that 35 individuals unlawfully entered its Madurai office on 1 December without proper search warrants, taking away sensitive case files.
The Indo-Tibetan Border Police, under the Ministry of Home Affairs, has assumed control of the security of ED's offices in Tamil Nadu in response to these security concerns.
However, it remains unconfirmed whether the FIR sought by the ED has been registered.
Concurrently, the ED registered an enforcement case information report, equivalent to a police FIR, to investigate the case against Tiwari, who is accused of accepting a bribe of Rs 20 lakh from a government servant.
The agency has now shifted the probe to its New Delhi headquarters.
This comes in response to the Tamil Nadu police having registered an FIR against officials of the central agency based on a complaint from the vigilance department, alleging interference and obstruction during searches conducted at the agency's Madurai office on 1-2 December.
The ED had previously expressed concerns about the sensitivity of its operations to the DGP.
The ED's letter to the DGP highlighted uncertainties about the identity of the 35 individuals who entered the office and their potential vested interests.
The agency also raised concerns about the safety of its secret witnesses involved in cases against powerful individuals.
It is noteworthy that the enforcement agency is currently investigating over half a dozen ministers in the DMK government in connection with various corruption cases, further complicating the ongoing dispute between the state government and the ED.
Nayan Dwivedi is Staff Writer at Swarajya.
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