May 10, 2016 12:15:48 am
The CBI has booked an under secretary in the Union Home Ministry on charges of corruption. The official, Anand Joshi, was until recently posted in the Foreigners Division of the ministry and had access to files related to Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA).
The official stands accused of favouring or harassing NGOs the received monetary contribution from foreign countries.
On Sunday, the agency had conducted raids at various locations, including the residence of the official, in connection with its probe and has found incriminating documents, property papers and cash of Rs 7.5 lakh in his possession.
Home Ministry sources said the official had been under scanner for several months and was reported to the CBI after it was confirmed that he was taking bribes to favour certain NGOs. Sources said that the accused not only traded FCRA related information with NGOs in exchange of money, but also arbitrarily issued notices to some to allegedly force them to pay up.
“He would either charge money for getting FCRA clearances done or for preventing an FCRA notice from being sent,” said an MHA official.
He was also allegedly behind some files related to Teesta Setalvad’s NGO Sabrang Trust suddenly going missing from the ministry a few months back. The file was later traced to the officer and restored. The Home Ministry had served a notice to the NGO in connection with an FCRA violation and cancellation of the Trust’s licence.
According to the CBI, the raids were conducted at the official’s house in Indirapuram and two other residential premises related to his associates. The official also has a company, in which his wife is a director, in the same area. This premise was also raided. CBI suspects that the company was opened to move bribe money.
In a statement, the CBI said, “It was alleged that the public servant while working as Under Secretary in the MHA, had been indulging in corrupt activities and arbitrarily issuing notices to large number of NGOs/Societies registered under FCRA who had been receiving significant amount of foreign contribution. The said officer had allegedly demanded and obtained illegal gratification from some of these organisations, which were laundered through various immovable assets as well as certain private companies.”
The statement further said, “Searches were conducted at four locations in the residential and office premises of accused and others. Cash of Rs 7.5 lakh and certain incriminating documents including files pertaining to the MHA and the Ministry of I & B were recovered from the premises of the said officer. The documents are being scrutinised.”
Senior Home Ministry officials said Joshi was now in the coordination department and a strict action, “which could go beyond suspension”, was in the offing.
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