Tamil Nadu Police have arrested an Enforcement Directorate officer in Madurai for allegedly extorting Rs 20 lakh in cash from a state government employee.
“As part of the ongoing investigation, police are searching the central agency's offices in the city and the officer's residence, and have seized several documents.
This is the first time Tamil Nadu has arrested an Enforcement Directorate officer,” NDTV reported.
The officer in question - Ankit Tiwari - has been sent to judicial custody till December 15, the report said.
The Enforcement Directorate has not responded so far.
The report quoting the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption, Tiwari originally demanded Rs 3 crore to "avert legal action" in a case that had already been settled.
“He contacted the employee on October 29, claimed he was acting on instructions from the Prime Minister's Office, and summoned him to the agency's Madurai office,” the report said.
“When he came, Tiwari accosted him and demanded the Rs 3 crore bribe, which he later brought down to Rs 51 lakh claiming he had ‘spoken to his superiors’,” the report mentioned.
The first installment of Rs 20 lakh was paid on November 1.
“The government employee was subsequently harassed by Tiwari for the remaining Rs 31 lakh. On November 30 he lodged a complaint with the DVAC and, at 10.30 am today Friday, the department arrested Ankit Tiwari,” it said.
The report quoting sources said Tiwari was caught "red-handed" following a high-speed car chase.
The report also said the DVAC is also investigating if received money from threatening or blackmailing others.
Tiwari's arrest comes as the Tamil Nadu government and the central investigative agency are at loggerheads over the latter's summons to five district collectors; this is in connection with a probe into alleged money laundering linked to illegal sand mining.
Meanwhile, DMK has slammed Enforcement Directorate
The ED official's arrest comes on the day the ruling DMK's mouthpiece, Murasoli, accused the BJP that is in power at the centre of using the agency to malign its image. The newspaper questioned the ED's claim of corruption, challenging the basis of the alleged "arbitrary" figure and demanding proof.
"The BJP uses Enforcement Directorate to create a black mark against DMK. ED said some random numbers... that, in two years, Rs 4,730 crore of corruption was uncovered in sand mining. How do they know how much sand was in the river two years ago? They are just making up these numbers..., " it said.