ED-States tussle: SC moots mechanism to identify vendetta

The Supreme Court on Thursday mulled over formulating a fair and transparent pan-India mechanism for investigation of cases involving officials of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and state governments to eliminate apprehensions about political vendetta thwarting probes.

A bench of Justices Surya Kant and KV Viswanathan sought a response from the Tamil Nadu government in two weeks on a plea by the ED seeking transfer of the probe in the case against its officer Ankit Tiwari, arrested by the Tamil Nadu Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (TNDVAC) on charges of bribery, to the CBI.

The bench asked the Tamil Nadu Police to produce before it on the next date of hearing the material they have collected while probing the bribery case, after Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the ED, alleged that files related to investigation against ministers were taken away by the state police.

Justice Kant asked senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Amit Anand Tiwari, appearing for the Tamil Nadu government, to not proceed with the investigation in the bribery case until the next date of hearing.

Justice Kant asked both the Tamil Nadu government and the federal anti-money laundering agency to suggest a fair and transparent mechanism for investigation.

“We don’t want criminals in genuine cases to go scot-free amid allegations and counter allegations over investigation in our federal structure,” the bench said.

At the outset, Mehta said the ED was not supporting its officer accused of bribery but wanted a fair and proper investigation.