The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has named its former Gujarat head J P Singh, accused by the CBI of taking “huge bribe from hawala operators and cricket bookies”, as prime witness in the alleged money laundering case against suspended IAS officer Pradeep Sharma.
The ED has mentioned Singh’s name in the top of the list of the witnesses in the recently filed chargesheet against Sharma. Singh had supervised most of the investigation before the bribery case was lodged against him earlier this year.
The CBI was roped in to investigate the allegation against Singh following a written complaint by director, ED, Karnail Singh. Before that, the Intelligence Bureau had also submitted a report alleging that “Singh received bribes from various accused for not arresting them”.
Singh, an IRS officer of 2002 batch, was transferred out of Gujarat after the CBI registered the case against him and sent back to his parent cadre Customs and Excise Department.
The CBI has alleged that Singh along with his subordinate officer Sanjay Kumar “collected” huge amount of money from several accused named in the Surat hawala racket and the IPL betting money laundering cases.
According to documents submitted by the CBI in the special court, Ahmedabad, Singh “collected bribes through his conduits in the PMLA case (Surat) and the IPL betting matter.” The agency has named Mumbai-based bookies Bimal Agrawal and Sonu Jalan “as conduits for Singh during the relevant period and were collecting huge amount of money from bookies and punters in the IPL matter”.
Singh was instrumental in investigating the case against Sharma, who is alleged to have swindled more than Rs1 crore abroad through hawala channel using his wife’s bank accounts in the US. Singh also had issued provisional attachment order to seal properties of Sharma which are alleged to have been procured using “proceeds of crime.”
The money laundering case against Sharma is based on the FIRs lodged by the CID (crime) and the Anti Corruption Bureau for allotting land to a private firm Welspun at lower rates, causing loss of Rs1.20 crore to the public exchequer. Sharma, who is currently behind bars, had filed a petition in the Supreme Court alleging that he was being victimised by the then Narendra Modi government in Gujarat and had sought a CBI inquiry into the cases against him. The Supreme Court has rejected his application.