DAYS AFTER carrying out searches at a central government officers’ club in the city, the CBI has shifted focus to its own officers. According to sources, at least five CBI officers are being questioned in connection with the case.
These officers are suspected to have played a role in influencing CBI cases against suspects — most of them are central government officers, including an Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer. Sources said these officers were in touch with Rakesh Tiwari, the caterer at the Palika Services Officers Institute (PSOI) in Chanakyapuri from whose office cash, documents of alleged hawala transactions and jewellery were recovered.
According to sources, Tiwari, who earlier used to run the CBI canteen, is suspected to have been functioning as a middleman for bureaucrats and businessmen who wanted to get their CBI cases diluted. Sources said the agency also suspects that several officers were using Tiwari’s services to transfer funds illegally.
While some officers of the CBI’s Anti Corruption Unit III are under the scanner, sources said five officers, ranging from the rank of inspector to DSP, were being questioned. “This is not to say that they have done something wrong. But they are under a cloud of suspicion because of certain associations they have made and are being questioned,” said a CBI officer.
In searches carried out on Wednesday and Thursday at the PSOI following registration of a corruption case, the CBI recovered 20 Rolex watches, Rs 3.6 crore in cash and Rs 1.6 crore worth jewellery from a cupboard in Tiwari’s office. The CBI also came across documents that show alleged hawala transactions to the tune of several crores of rupees.
Among these documents, as reported by The Indian Express on Saturday, “personal” documents related to a top IAS officer of the Union Territory cadre, apart from those of several serving and retired bureaucrats, were also seized.
The top IAS officer, whose “personal” documents have been recovered, once faced a CBI probe but could not be prosecuted after the government refused sanction in 2015. The officer was also caught in the tug-of-war between the Centre and the Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government immediately after the AAP came to power.
Sources said the passport and property papers of another IAS officer of the UT cadre, who took voluntary retirement, were also recovered. CBI sources said the documents were being examined, and some UT cadre officers could be questioned soon.
Tiwari was arrested on Wednesday for allegedly attempting to dilute a corruption case probe in return for a bribe of Rs 35 lakh. He was held while receiving Rs 15 lakh, the second instalment of the bribe, from a hawala dealer of Delhi, the CBI said.
On Thursday, the agency arrested Neeraj Raja Kochar, owner of Viraj Profiles, who was allegedly using Tiwari’s services to influence CBI officers probing a corruption case against an IRS officer, Vivek Batra, in which Kochar is also an accused.