Senior ED officer suspended after CCTV footage with Rose Valley kingpin's wife surfaces
ED on Tuesday suspended its Investigating Officer (IO), probing the Rose Valley case, after a purported video showing his 'relation' with the estranged wife of main accused Gautam Kundu.
The officer, Manoj Kumar, has denied the charges saying the entire episode was being blown out of proportion and was part of a "larger conspiracy" to take him out of the case.
Officials said Kumar, an Assistant Director of the agency, has been "suspended pending enquiry" even as he has been removed from the cases he was probing like the Rose Valley chit fund case and some pertaining to the Coal blocks allocation.
Purported CCTV grabs of the IO and the woman were on Monday night was shown on some West Bengal-based news channels which claimed that the footage allegedly revealed that the duo travelled together by air from Kolkata to Delhi some time back and later together checked into a hotel in the Sunder Nagar area of the national capital.
While speaking to reporters outside the agency's Salt Lake office in Kolkata, Kumar claimed innocence.
"It is a larger conspiracy to eject me out of the case (Rose Valley). I don't want to comment to be a political victim or a victim of cross-fire by the Kolkata Police for the reasons best known to them. I have already offered my cases to be scrutinised by any officer of ED or to a team of officers," he said. He, however, evaded direct replies to the queries on the videos purportedly showing him and the woman together as he claimed that he went to Delhi "on his own" to file attachment of assets cases before an appropriate authority and that the lady came "separate". Another interesting fact that has come to light is that Subhra Kundu was in close touch with a former CBI director. There were a series of midnight calls between the former CBI boss and Subhra. Subhra was also invited to the wedding of the CBI director's son.
Taking cognisance of the late night reports on Monday, the Enforcement Directorate headquarters in Delhi sought a report from Kolkata and said "strict disciplinary action" will follow if charges are proved true.
The CCTV footage of the duo allegedly being together was obtained by the Kolkata Police as part of its separate investigation into the activities of certain hawala dealers post demonetisation.
"This is a serious case and we are investigating it thoroughly. There were some inputs about the official concerned and he was under watch. A probe report will decide the future course of action," an agency source said.
The woman was having an estranged relationship with Gautam Kundu and they were living separately since October 2013, Kumar said, adding several disputes are going among them before the PMLA case of Rose Valley was taken up by the ED.
The name of Manoj, who is a medal-winning superintendent rank officer of ED, cropped up when Special Task Force of the Kolkata Police interrogated the three persons who were arrested from the office of a chartered accountant on Mangoe Lane in central Kolkata with Rs 1.42 crore demonetised notes on December 16.
The Rose Valley Chief was arrested in March 2015 and his wife filed for divorce soon after his arrest.
The cosy equation Subhra shared with key officials in the central investigative agencies could be the reason that they went easy on her.
Rose Valley's Adrija Jewellers is continuing its flourishing business with impunity right under the noses of the agencies.
"This raises serious questions about the integrity of some officers in the agencies. Some of these officers acted with great alacrity in arresting our MPs Sudip Bandyopadhyay and Tapas Pal. I wish they had shown the same urgency in bringing the guilty to book," a senior TMC leader told Millennium Post.
- Subhra Kundu was close to former CBI director, there were a series of midnight calls
- Subhra was invited to the CBI top officer's son's wedding
- Central agencies were going easy on Subhra, no properties were attached
- Rose Valley's Adrija Jewellers continues to do roaring business