Almost a year after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) booked three officers of Enforcement Directorate, Ahmedabad, including the then joint director J P Singh, for “demanding and accepting huge amount of bribe”, the central agency Tuesday arrested three bookies who worked as “middlemen” for the accused officers.
According to CBI sources, following a search operation, it arrested Sonu Jalan from Mumbai, J K Arora from Delhi and Jayesh Thakkar from Ahmedabad. A special court in Ahmedabad remanded Thakkar and Jalan in CBI custody for seven days. Arora will be produced before the court once he is brought here. CBI sources said that the trio were “informers and front men of J P Singh”. According to a release by CBI, more than Rs 1 crore in cash and incriminating materials have been recovered from them.
“Sonu, a big-time bookie, and Arora acted as Singh’s informants. And based on their tip-offs, he would conduct raids on bookies. What we have learnt that Singh used to have information about the raids much more than the officers who were in the field simply because of these informants. However, there is a foul play by these informants and Singh which we are probing,” a CBI officer said. The third arrested person, Jayesh Thakkar, is a resident of Maninagar in Ahmedabad. Thakkar is also alleged to be a bookie who, sources said, had planted several stories in the local media about a reported threat to J P Singh from an underworld don. Singh later on procured a firearm licence from Ahmedabad police.
“He was introduced to Singh by a high-ranking IPS officer. He used to keep a watch on field officers of ED. In fact, Thakkar had filmed accused ED officer Sanjay Kumar having friendly talks with accused bookies and sent to Singh,” said a source.
On August 22, 2015, the CBI had lodged an FIR naming Singh and two unidentified officers, based on a complaint given by Karnal Singh, director, ED, New Delhi. Since then, the accused officers have been summoned to Delhi more than twice and were grilled. They are facing charges of conspiracy and prevention of corruption act, 1988. A CBI press release said, “It was alleged that certain officers of Enforcement Directorate while investigating the cases of money laundering in betting and other such activities had allegedly demanded and accepted illegal gratification from the accused and suspect persons in the said cases.”
Singh, an IRS officer who has been shunted out of Gujarat, was instrumental in busting the Rs 10,000-crore hawala racket in Surat and over Rs 2,000 crore international cricket betting racket, involving businessmen and hawala operators.