It was the BlackBerry text messages once backed up in meat exporter Moin Qureshi’s laptop that became the key evidence in the probe, based on which the Centre has told the Supreme Court that former CBI director A P Singh’s conduct was “wholly unbecoming of CBI Director”.
The income tax department recovered these text messages on the fourth attempt through its recovery software, according to people who are familiar with the developments. Among the email messages recovered during the exercise are the ones which show Qureshi was offering to be the go-between for senior CBI officers and the accused in many CBI probes.
For instance, an email sent by Pradeep Koneru on September 7, 2013 to Qureshi’s staff requested that Madhu Koneru, who was accused No.13, should be made a witness in the Jagan Mohan Reddy disproportionate asset case. To be sure, Qureshi did tell Pradeep Koneru over BBM messages that he is trying to “fix” his request.
Attorney General Mukul Rohtagi, who gave the income tax investigation report in a sealed cover to the Supreme Court, did not name A P Singh.
However, he left no doubts about his identity.
The Indian Express was the first to report the contents of the BlackBerry Messenger exchanges on May 15 in a report titled “No fear, some favour: I-T probes ‘friendly’ text messages between meat exporter Moin Qureshi and ex-CBI chief A P Singh”.
According to the findings of the income tax department, Qureshi was in touch with several of the CBI’s list of accused, such as T S Narayanaswamy, ex-chairman Bank of India, Madhu Koneru, Prasad Koneru, all accused in Jagan Mohan Reddy disproportionate asset case; and Sanjeev Nanda, son of arms dealer, Suresh Nanda.
Among other high-profile “contacts” in Qureshi’s BBM are head of Interpol, Ronald Noble.
The Express report also said that A P Singh was in regular touch with Qureshi, depending on him for buying an assortment of items for his house, as well as personal effects such as carpets, furniture, garden umbrellas and spectacles.