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Govt removes ED Mumbai chief over Nirav Modi case controversy

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The government has removed ED's special in Mumbai, Vineet Agarwal, for his alleged interference in relieving the agency's investigating in the money-laundering case without following due procedure, said Tuesday.

They said the tenure of Agarwal has been cut short by three years and the 1994-batch of cadre has been repatriated to his home state with immediate effect.

The Union issued an order Tuesday after getting sanction from the of the Cabinet and subsequently the headquarters in issued the orders relieving Agarwal from the post of of the agency in Mumbai, the said.

An special director, based in Mumbai, heads the western region of the agency and has control over Maharashtra, Gujarat, and

The charge has now been handed over in an "additional capacity" to the agency's special based in

Agarwal was sent on deputation to the in January 2017 for five years by the central government.

His name cropped up on March 29 after he issued an order relieving his in Mumbai, Satyabrat Kumar, from the case probe when the court hearing in the extradition case of the absconding diamantaire was underway in

As a controversy erupted in the sensitive case, being monitored at top levels of the government, Director issued a fresh order in and cancelled Agarwal's signed order, within a few hours.

A report on the day-long episode, seen as embarrassing to the agency in an important case, was subsequently sent by the to the Union and the PMO, following which the was removed, the said.

They said the IPS officer has been found guilty of exceeding his brief and interfering with the powers of the ED procedures.

A is only empowered to transfer or alter the charge of an up to the level of an assistant director, officials explained.

A joint is one above the and only the ED director is empowered to transfer such an

The officials said "unnecessary controversy was created and the March 29 incident was seen as an attempt to weaken Indian investigating agencies' efforts to extradite by this act."

Modi is wanted by ED on money-laundering charges and by CBI for criminal corruption charges in connection with the USD 2 billion alleged fraud at Punjab National Bank, said to be the largest scam of the country.

The ED, that day, had also issued a clarification through its handle, stating that "certain media reports" said the supervising investigation in the case of Nirav Modi has been relieved. "This report is not correct and denied.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, April 16 2019. 22:20 IST