The Centre on Tuesday removed Vineet Agarwal from the post of special director of the Enforcement Directorate, PTI reported. Unidentified officials said Agarwal was removed for allegedly interfering in relieving an investigating officer of the agency in the Nirav Modi case without following due procedure.
The Finance Ministry issued an order on Tuesday after receiving sanction from the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, following which the Enforcement Directorate’s headquarter in Delhi issued the orders relieving Agarwal from the post of special director of the agency in Mumbai.
Agarwal told Business Standard that he has not received the repatriation order and was not aware that he had been removed from the post. The charge of special director has been handed over in an “additional capacity” to the agency’s special director based in Chennai.
On March 29, Agarwal issued an order transferring Enforcement Directorate Joint Director Satyabrata Kumar while Kumar was in London for a hearing in the extradition of jeweller Nirav Modi to India, according to ANI. The agency’s director, Sanjay Mishra, revoked the transfer order within a few hours, saying Agarwal was not authorised to transfer the joint director on his own.
According to rules, a special director is empowered to transfer or alter the charge of an official up to the level of an assistant director. The post of joint director above the assistant director and only the the agency’s director is empowered to transfer such an official, according to PTI.
The Enforcement Directorate sent a report on the controversial transfer order to the Union Finance Ministry and the Prime Minister’s Office, following which Agarwal was removed.
Unidentified officials said the government had interpreted Agarwal’s move as an effort to interfere in the agency’s efforts to extradite Modi to India, according to Hindustan Times.
Agarwal, an Indian Police Service officer, was posted to the Enforcement Directorate in January 2017 for a five-year term. The government cut short his tenure by three years and ordered him to report to his parent cadre Maharashtra. As Mumbai special director, Agarwal was in control of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
Modi is wanted by Enforcement Directorate on money-laundering charges and by Central Bureau of Investigation for criminal corruption charges in connection with a Rs 13,000 crore fraud at the Punjab National Bank.