Rashmi Drolia| TNN |
Rajnesh singh (L), Mukesh Gupta.
RAIPUR: In a major twist to multi-crore PDS scam related case, Chhattisgarh’s Bureau of Investigation of Economic Offences (EOW) has registers an FIR against a director general of police (DG) Mukesh Gupta and a superintendent of police under a dozen sections for criminal offences, including using forged documents as genuine, criminal conspiracy, and under provisions of Indian Telegraph Act for alleged phone tapping by unlawfully intercepting messages.
The FIR has been registered late Thursday night against DGP Mukesh Gupta (IPS batch 1988), who during the last BJP regime was heading the EOW and state intelligence, and EOW’s former superintendent of police Rajnesh Singh (IPS batch 1997), who is at present posted as superintendent of police in Narayanpur district. The action came after EOW’s Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the multi-crore PDS scam, which is popularly known by its Hindi acronym Nagarik Aapoorti Nigam (NAN) scam, found certain documents tampered using whiteners and other discrepancies and subsequent investigations led to revelation of alleged fabrication of documents, criminal conspiracy and many other omissions and commissions including issues related to unlawfully intercepting messages, EOW superintendent of police Kalyan Elesela confirmed to TOI.
FIR registered against both the top IPS under Indian Penal Code includes Section 166 A, B for public servant framing an incorrect document with intent to cause injury, Section 193, 194 for fabricating false evidence, Section 201 for causing disappearance of evidence, Section 196 for using evidence known to be false, Section 218 for forging incorrect record to save a person from punishment, Section 466 for forgery of record of court, Section 471 for using forged document as genuine.
Besides, the provisions of Indian Telegraph Act Section 25, 26, read with Section (5,2) for unlawfully intercepting and using messages.
Highly placed sources indicated “the next move in the case would be suspension of both the IPS officers. It is a matter of investigation and arrests would be done once probe report is released.”
EOW sources said, during the probe, it has come to notice that many documents were overwritten in the official document and some of the documents seemed to have been fabricated in back date. The clerks concerned were questioned and they gave a statement that they were ordered to do so by the then senior officials of EOW.
After the Congress government came to power, IPS Mukesh Gupta under whose time the NAN scam was exposed was shifted to PHQ, subsequently, the state government constituted an SIT as it was felt that the EOW didn’t conduct the whole investigation in proper manner during the BJP regime and that many influential persons, allegedly involved in the scam were deliberately left out.
SIT was formed early this January after there were allegations that investigating agency which probed the case earlier, had apparently investigated only six pages of a purported diary which contained 107 pages with names of alleged beneficiaries of the scam. They claimed that names of many powerful people, including politicians and bureaucrats, figured in the diary recovered during raids at the offices of state civil supplies corporation. The ACB, which probed the case, had made 27 people as accused in the PDS scam and had filed two chargesheets in the courts.
Among them are two IAS officers – the then civil supplies secretary Dr Alok Shukla and the then managing director of the state civil supplies corporation Anil Tuteja. According to the ACB, the corporation allowed rice millers to supply poor quality PDS rice to the BJP-led state government and received commission from them. The commission was distributed among the entire hierarchy of government functionaries.
During the raids, the ACB had also seized around Rs 4 crore in cash from the drawers of bureaucrats, allegedly involved in the scam. Ever since the scam came to light in 2015, the then opposition Congress has been describing it as “mother of all scams” pointing out that the amount involved was more than Rs 36,000 crore.
Denying all allegations levelled against him, DG Mukesh Gupta told TOI, “All telephone interceptions were lawful and with the approval of home department in every case. SIT has deliberately ignored the records and FIR has been registered in a hurry on the basis of oral statements of subordinate officers under duress. The committee ordered by Supreme Court under chief secretary, home secretary and law secretary had been monitoring all telephone interceptions every two months and has always found them correct. Moreover, principles of natural justice required that I was given an opportunity to clarify any queries. I am denying all these charges and categorically stating that I have done nothing illegal.”