IRS officer Neeraj Singh interrogated
New Delhi: As the Central Bureau of Investigation focuses its resources on chasing leads pertaining to chit fund cases, the ED has now made significant headway in proving a direct link between former Additional Commissioner of Income Tax (Investigation), Neeraj Singh and the Rs 15,000 crore Rose Valley chit fund case.
Officials of the Enforcement Directorate on Thursday interrogated Singh, a senior IRS officer, for over eight hours at their Kolkata offices, with reliable documentary evidence, which the ED got from multiple country-wide raids at his premises and offices of a dubious Kolkata-based accountant, Govind Agarwal.
According to a highly-placed source, the documents recovered from Agarwal's offices and Singh's residences, it is clear that the IRS officer, while posted as the Additional Director of Income Tax (Investigation), gave undue favours to Gautam Kundu, the owner of Rose Valley Group and several other entities in exchange for huge amounts of money, which was subsequently laundered through a web of shell companies set up by Agarwal.
The financial probe agency has now already slapped money-laundering charges against Singh, in connection with the case.
A senior official with direct knowledge of developments said that Singh was confronted with ample documents, transaction history under his name and names of people related to him, with the senior bureaucrat maintaining that he was being framed. In fact, a previous investigation by local police in Kolkata had also found several receipts of cash purchases of gold from Adrija Gold, under Singh's wife's name.
ED investigators are also in possession of several documents showing that Singh had travelled to Port Blair with Gautam Kundu, Shubhra and Agarwal to finalise a land deal there pertaining to the Rose Valley Group. A senior official said that Singh's denial of documentary evidence showing his involvement only strengthens their case as the documents clearly prove otherwise.
This major breakthrough came even after a former Assistant Director-level officer of the ED, Manoj Kumar was caught on CCTV cameras visiting a plush South Delhi guest house with Kundu's wife, Shubhra Kundu. While Kumar was eventually pushed out of the federal agency, he is yet to be arrested for his purported links to the Rose Valley Group and its directors.
Surprisingly, after the Ponzi scheme came to light, central law enforcement agencies allowed Adrija Gold to function without any interference for almost two and a half years and only seized about Rs 500 crore worth of assets belonging to the jeweller, allowing Rose Valley Group and its operators of siphon off large amounts of money to other countries, allegedly with the help of Singh, according to a senior ED official.
It is also alleged that Singh regularly met with Shubhra in Astor Hotel and one senior BJP leader, who is now a minister in the UP government, also received huge kickbacks in exchange for helping the chit fund company.
The ED's probe is gathering steam, with investigators now finding links to several public officials who might have benefitted from this Neeraj Singh-Govind Agarwal nexus.