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Arrest of ED official sparks political row in Tamil Nadu, BJP says unfair to blame entire dept

Enforcement Directorate official Ankit Tiwari was arrested on Friday after being ‘caught red-handed’ while accepting a bribe. Officials from the Tamil Nadu Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption conducted searches at the ED office and seized several incriminating documents on Saturday. The developments have also sparked a political debate in the southern state with Opposition parties lashing out at the BJP.

“This is not the first time and this isn’t the last time either. Earlier too, many have been caught and arrested from specialized agencies like CBI and ED in states like Rajasthan, West Bengal and Delhi. Recently, a similar incident happened in Rajasthan…We can’t blame the ED for a single individual’s mistake…” insisted state BJP chief K Annamalai.

Leaders from the DMK and Congress meanwhile lashed out at the probe agency and accused the BJP-led central government of misusing the ED to target “political opponents and critics”.

ALSO READ: Who is Ankit Tiwari? All you need to know about ED officer nabbed by Tamil Nadu police for accepting 20 lakhs bribe

“…This shatters the faith citizens have in public institutions, making one wonder if ED stands for Extortion Department or Enforcement Directorate after being systematically misused by the BJP government to brazenly terrorize and extort political opponents and critics across the country,” wrote DMK MP Dayanidhi Maran.

“Based on the information and complaint received by the Tamil Nadu police they went to check to the enforcement department office. If he was innocent, he could have faced them and why did he run away at the time…” added Tamil Nadu Congress President KS Alagiri.

Tiwari was arrested in Dindigul and sent to judicial custody on Friday. Officials said that he was nabbed after an eight-kilometre chase along the Dindigul-Madurai highway.

DVAC officials have since conducted searches at his residence and the ED sub-zonal office in Madurai. CRPF personnel were also seen outside the central government office where the DVAC officials conducted enquiries. Security personnel at the Madurai ED office locked the office from inside while DVAC conducted their searches today.

(With inputs from agencies)

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Updated: 02 Dec 2023, 07:21 PM IST

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