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Home ministry official who went missing arrested on graft charges

The CBI detained on Sunday Union home ministry official Anand Joshi, who had gone missing after the agency issued summons following allegations of corruption.

india Updated: May 16, 2016 02:39 IST
HT Correspondent
Anand Joshi
The CBI has registered a case against Joshi for allegedly issuing notices arbitrarily to NGOs registered under the foreign contribution regulation act (FCRA) and demanding bribes from them.(HT file photo)

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested on Sunday a home ministry official who is accused of demanding and accepting bribes from non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

Anand Joshi, an under secretary in the ministry, was booked earlier this month and issued summons to appear before the agency for questioning.

Joshi subsequently went missing after leaving a note at his Indirapuram residence that said he was facing “mental harassment” and had made too many enemies serving the nation.

“The official has been arrested,” CBI spokesperson Devpreet Singh said.

Joshi allegedly sent arbitrary notices to NGOs registered under the foreign contribution regulation act (FCRA) without seeking approvals and demanded bribes from them.

The bribe money “was laundered by him through immovable assets and private companies that are controlled indirectly”, an official said.

A CBI source said Joshi’s movements were tracked “based on specific intelligence” and he was detained at Delhi’s Tilak Nagar at 5pm.

The source said Joshi was asked why he did not turn up for questioning twice and whether his alleged “missing status” was a ploy to evade the probe.

He allegedly gave unconvincing answers to the questions, including those related to the disappearance of a file related to Sabrang Trust of activist Teesta Setalvad.

“His family did not cooperate in giving us information on where he was so far after going traceless over the past few days after the probe began,” the source said.

The CBI began its probe against Joshi after receiving a complaint from the ministry and subsequently searched his home and office.

It confiscated Rs 7.5 lakh from him. Important files of the home ministry as well as the information and broadcasting ministry were recovered too. These are being examined by the agency.

Joshi was also allegedly behind the disappearance of a file related to Setalvad’s Sabrang Trust. It was later traced to the officer and 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, a CBI official said.

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

(With agency inputs)

Read: MHA under secretary Anand Joshi goes missing ahead of CBI questioning