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ED officer probing Nirav case removed from post; reinstated in minutes

ED officer probing Nirav case removed from post; reinstated in minutes

New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday removed its Joint Director Satyabrata Kumar, who is now in London assisting UK prosecutors in fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi's bail hearing case at the Westminster Magistrates' Court.

In a confusion that erupted consequently because of the repatriation of an official investigating a case such as the PNB bank fraud case, ED headquarters in Delhi overturned Kumar's repatriation order within minutes.

Kumar is the main investigating officer from ED in the Nirav Modi case.

Sources here said that Director of ED Sanjay Kumar Mishra has cancelled the order and reinstated him into his original post in the Mumbai Zonal Office (MZO) Unit I.

The order, dated March 29, said that Kumar's five-year tenure with the federal agency had ended.

Citing Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) guidelines for personnel deputation, the order states that "no extension in deputation beyond 5th year is allowed and deputationist officer is deemed to have been relieved on the date of expiry of deputation period unless the competent authority has with requisite approvals, extended the period of deputation, in writing, prior to the date of expiry."

According to DoPT guidelines on personnel deputation, an officer's tenure in the agency might be extended for up to two additional years.

ED Special Director Vineet Agarwal had signed the order, which further stated that under the current circumstances, all cases being overseen by Kumar, including the USD 2-billion PNB Bank fraud case against Nirav Modi, must be handed over to his immediate superior authority, the Additional Director (western region), who also sits in Mumbai.

The repatriation order, which is in possession of the Millennium Post also mentions a Supreme Court directive passed in November 2018, which forbade ED from transferring any officer investigating the coal block allocation scam.

The ED order states that as one of the investigating officers in this case Kumar will continue to probe the case from its MZO.

However, according to agency officials, it is not possible for Kumar to oversee any ED investigation if he is relieved of his duties in the federal investigative agency.

Director Mishra confirmed on Friday that Kumar has not been transferred and that the necessary paperwork required for his two-year extension has already been moved.

This cancellation of Kumar's repatriation order will be followed by an approval of an extension of tenure of Kumar which has already been sent for clearance to the Department of Revenue under thew Union Finance Ministry and the DoPT, sources here said.

The ED also issued a clarification through its Twitter handle. "Certain media reports have been appearing that Joint Director supervising investigation in the case of Nirav Modi has been relieved. This report is not correct and denied," it said. With PTI inputs

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