The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has filed a First Information Report (FIR) against NIA Superintendent of Police Vishal Garg and Inspector Rajib Khan for extorting Rs 60 lakh from three residents of Imphal, Manipur, by threatening to implicate them in a fraudulent case. The officers summoned individuals under the pretence of interrogating them and extorting money from them.
Following a complaint of bribery against Garg, Director General (NIA) Dinkar Gupta suspended the officer last month on his orders. Notably, Garg was a member of the squad that investigated Hindutva terror cases and was directly involved in the investigations of the 2007 Samjhauta Express and Mecca Masjid bombings in Hyderabad. Garg was a member of the BSF until 2015 when he was assimilated by the NIA.
After receiving a complaint from Deputy Superintendent (Admin in NIA) Sudhanshu Shekhar Shukla, the CBI has filed an FIR under IPC Sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 388 (extortion), as well as several sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act. “According to sources, the former SP (Imphal Branch) Garg and Inspector Rajib Khan were extorting residents of Manipur for large sums of money by threatening to fraudulently implicate them in NIA cases. After obtaining the information, the NIA conducted an internal investigation,” said Shukla.
“The investigation has revealed that the NIA filed a First Information Report (FIR) in 2022 alleging that active cadres of terrorist organisations, including but not limited to Kangleipak Communist Party (KCP), United National Liberation Front (UNLF), and People’s Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (PREPAK), all proscribed under UAPA, were raising funds in Manipur to further their terrorist activities. The investigation has been assigned to Inspector/Chief Investigator Tushar Bisht,” he said.
“Further investigation revealed that Garg, as SP (Imphal Branch), was the initial supervisory officer of the case, and that Khan was assisting on his orders. A distinct modus operandi of these officers was observed in which a number of businessmen and professionals were summoned for questioning, in the majority of cases without legal notice. In the presence of Garg, false NIA cases were threatened. Later, Khan would offer them assistance in exchange for payment. The amount to be paid would be negotiated, Khan would receive payment in cash, and the matter would be resolved, according to Shukla.
Khan collected Rs 10 lakh cash from one Inaocha Takhellambam alias Naoba, Rs 20 lakh cash from one N Momon Singh, and Rs 30 lakh cash from one Laishram Hemanta Singh, all of whom were residents of Imphal between May and August 2022 at the behest of Garg,” he alleged further.
There is a possibility of extorting enormous sums from other people/witnesses, according to Shukla. “This aspect must also be investigated, and appropriate action must be taken against them,” he said.
Interestingly, this is not the first time Garg has been accused of corruption. He was suspended in 2019 for allegedly demanding a bribe of Rs 2 crore from a businessman and threatening to implicate him in a terror case he was investigating if the man did not pay up. After insufficient prosecutable evidence was found against him in the matter, he was reinstated in 2020. He was transferred from the Lucknow headquarters to the New Delhi headquarters and assigned to the “training” department.