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Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel weakened money laundering case against two IAS officers accused in PDS scam, threatened witnesses: ED to SC

The submission by ED says that the Congress CM of the state along with a law officer of HC and other officers from the Economic Offence Wing and the SIT actively influenced and threatened witnesses to ensure that the accused IAS officers don't get prosecuted for money laundering

Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel, members of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) and a top law officer weakened the case against Anil Tuteja and Alok Shukla, senior IAS officers accused of money laundering in a multi-crore PDS scam case, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) told Supreme Court this week.

Challenging the High Court order, the probe agency submitted in the apex court that message conversations found in the mobile phones impounded by the Income Tax Department revealed shocking details of the connivance of successive chiefs of the prosecuting agency namely EOW-ACB, Chhattisgarh, one very senior law officer in the High Court of Chhattisgarh, Members of the SIT, and the Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh in weakening the case against main accused Anil Kumar Tuteja and Alok Shukla (senior IAS officers facing criminal prosecution in Scheduled Offences of corruption).

Vakalatnama

The ED said the case against the two IAS officers was enfeebled “by procuring favourable reports from the said prosecuting agency and SIT and by actively influencing and threatening witnesses of the predicate offences as well as the offence of money laundering.”

It further submitted to the top court that the transcript of messages distinctly uncovers the nature of the misuse of power in the State of Chattisgarh, fiddling with the evidence and manipulation of witnesses, involving some constitutional functionaries to boot.

In paragraph 10 of the submission, the ED specifically mentions that even the Chief Minister of Chattisgarh connived to weaken the case against the accused.

The submission says, “It is submitted that the message conversation found in the mobile phone seized by the Income Tax Department shockingly revealed both the main accused namely Anil Kumar Tuteja and Alok Shukla (Both senior IAS officers facing criminal prosecution in Scheduled Offences of corruption), in connivance with successive Chiefs of the prosecuting agency name EOW-ACB, Chhattisgarh, one very senior law officer in the High Court of Chhattisgarh, Members of the SIT and with the intervention of the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Chhatisgarh, have weakened the offence of corruption against them”.

Essentially, the submission says that the CM of the state, who belongs to Congress, along with a law officer of HC and other officers from the Economic Offence Wing and the SIT actively influenced and threatened witnesses to ensure that the accused IAS officers don’t get prosecuted for money laundering. The Chief Minister referred, in this case, is Congress leader Bhupesh Baghel.

Vakalatnama

The ED demanded cancellation of anticipatory bail accorded to the two IAS officers and said the Chhattisgarh High Court did not consider the recovery of more than Rs 3 crore in cash in the raid conducted by the Anti-Corruption Bureau, Economic offences Wing on State Public Distribution Corporation, Raipur.

“It is submitted that the High Court failed to examine and scrutinize the material placed before it and failed to consider that a prima facie case is made out against the Respondents herein. The charge-sheet, including the supplementary charge sheet, is replete with material evidence substantiating the role played by the instant Respondents in their wide-scale scam of furthering corrupt practices for their own vested interests,” the agency told the top court.

Chhattisgarh HC grants anticipatory bail to two IAS officers accused in PDS scam case

On August 14, 2020, the Chhattisgarh High Court had granted anticipatory bail to two IAS officers accused in the PDS scam case.

The PDS scam case came to light in February 2015 after the Economic Offences Investigation (EOI) and Anti-corruption Bureau, Raipur, Chhattisgarh carried out raids in different district offices and residences of the officers of Chhattisgarh State Civil Supplies Corporation and Chhattisgarh State Warehousing Corporation including its headquarter at Raipur. A case was registered against the officers of the corporation.

The ED took cognisance of the matter and registered a money laundering case in connection with the scam against two IAS officers.

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OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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