‘Encounter cop’ to ‘Pegaus target’; ED officer takes voluntary retirement, likely to join BJP

ED officer takes voluntary retirement, likely to join BJP
Singh, who hails from Sultanpur in Uttar Pradesh, joined ED in 2009 on deputation from Uttar Pradesh where he was serving as a state police service officer.

Rajeshwar Singh, the joint director of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) at its zonal office in Lucknow, took voluntary retirement from government service and is expected to join the BJP and contest the forthcoming Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls.

Singh has applied for retirement from government service six months ago.

As of now Singh has not made any official statement regarding his joining BJP and about his VRS.

Reports say he might contest election from Shahibabad constituency.

Who is Rajeshwar Singh?

Singh, who hails from Sultanpur in Uttar Pradesh, joined ED in 2009 on deputation from Uttar Pradesh where he was serving as a state police service officer.

Singh carried out numerous extrajudicial killings during his stint in the uniform.

A BTech and PhD in policy, human rights and social justice, Singh was permanently absorbed into the ED cadre in 2015.

Ever since he began his innings in the ED, he has handled important cases including the 2G spectrum allocation case, 2010 Commonwealth Games alleged irregularities, and money laundering probe against former Union finance minister P Chidambaram and his son Karti Chidambaram, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy and former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda.

The ED officer has had his share of controversies also.

In 2011, from the Rashtrapati Bhavan to the Prime Minister’s Office to different ministries including defence and law received more than 50 complaints to probe Singh’s conduct.

In 2018, the Union finance ministry had submitted a secret report to the Supreme Court apparently carrying details of a phone call received by Singh from Dubai.

The report was prepared by India’s external intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) and handed over to the Department of Revenue in the finance ministry, under which the ED functions.

In the same year, the Supreme Court had allowed the Union government to probe allegations against Singh pertaining to amassing assets disproportionate to the source of income.

Accusations of other alleged irregularities made against Singh were probed by the agencies like ED, CBI and CVC, and a report was sent to the court and the government stating that there was “no merit” in the allegations and hence the enquiry was closed.

Singh had a reel life too. In 2011, he played the lead role in Bollywood movie Kya Yahi Sach Hai, based on the book, Carnage by Angel, by former police officer Y P Singh, Singh’s brother-in-law.

Singh’s sister Abha Singh was an IAS officer and she quit the service to practise law. Singh is married to IPS officer Laxmi Singh who is currently serving as the Inspector General of Lucknow range.

In 2021, Singh was found to have been a probable target of surveillance through the use of Pegasus, the snooping tool developed by Israeli spyware firm NSO. Numbers belonging to him and several members of his family were present on the leaked database accessed by The Wire and its media partners working on the Pegasus Project.

ED targeting Opposition: Akhilesh Yadav

The news comes amid Opposition parties in the poll-bound Uttar Pradesh have been alleging that Union government’s agencies including ED are being misused to target the Opposition.

“I will write to the EC and the President of India about how central agencies are being misused to target the opposition and make a mockery of democracy,” former UP CM and Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav said last week.