Home Ministry Under Secretary Anand Joshi, who went missing on May 11 — the day he was to appear before CBI for questioning in a corruption case — was on Sunday arrested by the agency. Sources said Joshi was found hiding at a relative’s residence in West Delhi.
Joshi, who disappeared Wednesday morning from his Indirapuram home, was picked up from Tilak Nagar area and taken to the CBI headquarters for questioning. CBI spokesperson Devpreet Singh said the agency had been tracking Joshi and he was detained around 5 pm.
“He was brought to CBI headquarters and questioned about the allegations against him. Since he was not cooperating with the investigations, he was arrested,” Singh said.
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Joshi had alleged corruption in the top brass of the home ministry and claimed he was being harassed and framed as he had refused to favour certain NGOs, which were offering bribes to the tune of several hundred crores.
He had disappeared from his home, leaving behind a note for his wife in which he claimed he had been subjected to “mental harassment” in recent months. His family claimed he had been undergoing treatment for depression for nearly two decades.
Ghaziabad police had registered a missing person complaint in this regard while CBI had said that it would summon Joshi again for questioning.
On May 9, the CBI registered a corruption case against Joshi and claimed searches at his house and office had led to the recovery of Rs 7.5 lakh in cash and documents, including files pertaining to the Home Ministry and the I&B Ministry.
He was also accused of being in illegal possession of a file relating to actions under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) against activist Teesta Setalvad’s NGO Sabrang Trust. Raids at his home and three companies owned by his wife led to the recovery of files of several other NGOs, including CARE India.
CBI has alleged that Joshi was arbitrarily issuing notices to various NGOs and favoured some for pecuniary gains. He was kept under watch by the home ministry for several months before a complaint was filed with the CBI.
Official sources claimed Joshi had sent notices to about 60 NGOs for “violation” of FCRA provisions in November 2015. Some of Joshi’s seniors in the ministry may be questioned over the notices, sources said.
Speaking to The Indian Express earlier, Joshi claimed: “I was offered around Rs 200-250 crore to remove Ford Foundation from a blacklist. When I refused, the organisation lodged a complaint with the PMO. Officers in my department, such as Additional Secretary B K Prasad, began pressuring me to give a clean chit to Ford Foundation. When I refused, all these allegations of corruption were levelled against me. I never removed the file on Sabrang Trust either.”
Dismissing the allegation, Prasad had said, “he (Joshi) is talking rubbish. This is a matter of CBI investigation. The truth will come out.”
A statement issued by Ford Foundation had also rejected Joshi’s allegations.