Tamil Nadu Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption officials on Friday conducted searches at the Enforcement Directorate’s Madurai office, PTI reported.

The operation was carried out after the arrest of a senior officer of the Enforcement Directorate identified as Ankit Tiwari. He had been detained in Dindigul district earlier on Friday for allegedly accepting a Rs 20 lakh bribe from an individual.

The arrest was made by the Madurai branch of the state police’s Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption on the Dindigul-Madurai highway shortly after he allegedly received the bribe.

The complainant in the case was a government doctor, identified as Dr Suresh Babu, who had been named in a disproportionate assets case registered in 2018, The Hindu reported. Although the proceedings of the case had completed and Babu faced departmental action, he was summoned by the central agency’s Madurai office a few months ago.

Tiwari had allegedly threatened Babu with arrest if he did not pay a bribe of Rs 3 crore. Subsequently, Babu reportedly negotiated the deal with Tiwari to bring down the amount to Rs 51 lakh. On November 1, Babu reportedly paid over Rs 20 lakh in cash to Tiwari.

The doctor lodged a complaint with the Tamil Nadu Police after the central agency officer demanded the rest of the payment, The Hindu reported.

Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption officials then reportedly directed Babu to hand over Rs 20 lakh cash to Tiwari on Friday. After Tiwari collected the cash, the Tamil Nadu Police team intercepted the Enforcement Directorate officer’s vehicle at the Kodaikanal road toll collection plaza, The Hindu reported.

The police seized the cash from the car and took him in for interrogation.

Tiwari was reportedly taken to Madurai where the police searched his house in the Kosakulam locality. The team then reportedly searched the Enforcement Directorate office in Madurai by the state’s anti-corruption officials.

This comes as the central agency has stepped up raids across states that are not ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party in cases related to financial fraud.

The Enforcement Directorate has been investigating cases against Tamil Nadu ministers and senior state government officials. On June 14, the central agency had arrested Tamil Nadu Minister V Senthil Balaji in a money laundering case.

Last week, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam-led state government had moved the Madras High Court against the Enforcement Directorate summons to 10 district collectors as part of an investigation into alleged irregularities and malpractices in the mining and sale of river sand in Tamil Nadu.

This is not the first time that a state police has arrested an official of the central agency on corruption charges in recent weeks. On November 2, the Rajasthan Anti-Corruption Bureau had arrested an Enforcement Directorate official and his associate for allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs 15 lakh.

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