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CBI Arrests Missing MHA Officer for 'Taking Bribes' From NGOs

CNN-News18

Updated:May 15, 2016, 10:25 PM IST
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  • Anand Joshi 'removed files' related to Teesta Setalvad's NGO Sabrang Trust, against whom notice was served for violating FCRA
  • He went missing from his home on May 11 leaving behind a letter asking his wife to take of children

New Delhi: Ministry of Home Affairs Under Secretary Anand Joshi, accused of arbitrarily issuing notices to NGOs under Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) and tampering with official files, was detained by the CBI on Sunday.

He was picked up from Tilak Nagar area of West Delhi.

Joshi was taken to the CBI headquarters for questioning and later he was arrested.

CBI Spokesperson Devpreet Singh said, "He was detained around 5 pm. He has been brought to CBI headquarter and is being questioned about the allegations against him."

Joshi allegedly 'removed files' related to Teesta Setalvad's NGO Sabrang Trust, against whom a notice was served by the MHA in connection with a FCRA violation and cancellation of Trust's licence.

Joshi went missing from his home in Indirapuram on May 11 leaving behind a letter asking his wife to take care of their children and alleged that one of his seniors (Additional Secretary BK Prasad) was harassing him mentally for the last few months.

His letter in Hindi reads, "I am going through acute mental harassment for the last few months. I am writing this letter because now the situation has gone too far. I need peace and that is not possible here. I am leaving home and please do not look for me. You are now both a father and a mother to our children."

"The dedication and integrity with which I was serving the nation, I had never imagined that this would happen to me, while serving my nation," his letter reads.

Joshi's wife Meenakshi alleged that his superior is trying to frame him because he refused a bribe.

The CBI had registered a case against Joshi under Section 120-B of the Indian Penal Code and Prevention of Corruption Act, after conducting raids at four locations, including Joshi’s residence and office.

"We have seized cash worth Rs 7.5 lakh and certain incriminating documents, including files pertaining to MHA and Ministry of I&B from the premises of the officer during the raid," CBI had said.

Joshi has rejected the charge and instead accused his seniors of pressuring him to give a clean chit to NGOs.

The matter came to light after files pertaining to alleged FCRA violations by two NGOs run by Setalvad went missing from the Home Ministry.

The files were traced and restored to the FCRA division but CBI was asked to investigate the matter.

It was noticed that the files had gone missing when the Home Ministry took a decision to cancel FCRA registration of one of Setalvad's NGOs, Sabrang Trust, sources said.

Sabrang Trust's licence was suspended on September 9, 2015 by MHA for alleged multiple violations of FCRA rules, including misuse of funds for personal benefit of trustees.

When Home Ministry officials found that the files had gone missing, they conducted an inquiry and identified Joshi as the official who had taken away the files.

He was summoned and the files were restored.

An Under Secretary is not allowed to take away files, only officials of the rank of Joint Secretary and above are allowed to take the files home. It is a serious violation, the CBI official said.

(With inputs from PTI)

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