AP Singh, the first former CBI chief booked by the agency, today claimed that the phone messages exchanged with controversial meat exporter Moin Qureshi that have come under scanner are “mostly personal” and “innocuous” in nature. The CBI had named Singh along with Qureshi and others in an FIR registered last week for allegedly showing favour to the meat exporter after receiving a complaint from the Enforcement Directorate.
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The 1974-batch IPS officer, who retired as CBI Director on November 30, 2012, said that he would comment exhaustively on the agency’s action after consulting his lawyer but added that the messages had been in public domain “for over three years”.
“Income Tax and Enforcement Director have not added anything further. None of the purported messages sent through BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) pertain to the CBI investigations. They are mostly personal and innocuous in nature as between friends,” he said.
Enforcement Directorate chief Karnal Singh had alleged that in the course of investigation in a Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) case against AMQ Group of companies owned by Qureshi, it transpired that the businessman was acting as a middleman for some public servants.
In his letter, the ED chief attached records of Blackberry chat messages exchanged between A P Singh and Qureshi to allege that cognizable offences were committed by the two in collusion with each other.
A P Singh, during whose tenure a number of charge sheets were filed in high-profile cases including the alleged fake encounters in Gujarat of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, Sadiq Jamal and Tulsi Prajapati, said majority of the messages were exchanged after he had retired from the CBI on November 30, 2012.
In Sheikh and Prajapti case, BJP leader Amit Shah was charge sheeted by the CBI. Shah was also arrested by the CBI but was later given bail.
Shah was discharged in the Sheikh encounter case by the Special Court in December, 2014, six months after BJP-led government came to power and the CBI did not appeal against the discharge order.
Out of the messages exchanged between him and Qureshi, only three belong to the period when A P Singh was the Director in which the meat exporter had sought “help” for a family friend.
However, A P Singh had informed Qureshi that the case had been charge sheeted and that his friend should approach the courts for relief, according to the messages cited by ED.
All the remaining messages were exchanged after he had retired from the CBI and there is no overt attempt to seek help for anyone, Singh, whose house was searched yesterday by the CBI, claimed.
The ED, surprisingly, had not named Singh in its Enforcement Case Information Report
ED Assistant Director Arun Kumar, whose complaint was also attached with Karnal Singh’s letter, alleged that Qureshi took “huge money” from different persons for obtaining undue favours from public servants and politicians holding high offices.
The ED has appended 22 BBM messages which were exchanged between A P Singh and Moin Qureshi even after the retirement of the IPS officer.
A perusal of the complaint shows that neither Karnal Singh nor Arun Kumar have given any details about specific transactions which, they believe, might have taken place between A P Singh and Qureshi.
The ED has also not specified in its complaint which specific favours were given by A P Singh and how he was benefited from Qureshi.
The complaint takes the name of Qureshi but only talks about senior officials and politicians in generic terms.