header
Politics

Key ED Officer and Probable Pegasus Target Rajeshwar Singh Likely to Join BJP: Report

Singh has worked on several high-profile investigations.

Listen to this article:

New Delhi: Rajeshwar Singh, an officer of the Enforcement Directorate (ED), is likely to join the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP0, a report by the Economic Times on Friday, August 20 claimed. Singh, originally serving as a provisional police service officer (PPS) in Uttar Pradesh, joined the ED in 2009 and was permanently absorbed into the agency in 2015.

Throughout his tenure, Singh has worked on several high-profile investigations: the 2G spectrum scam which implicated several politicians from the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government; the consequent Aircel-Maxis deal which turned the scanner on former Union minister P. Chidambaram and his son Karti; the Commonwealth Games scam; the coal allocation scam; and even probes into the disproportionate assets of Andhra Pradesh chief minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy.

Most recently, however, 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.

Also Read: Key ED Officer, Kejriwal’s Aide, PMO & NITI Aayog Officials Figure in Pegasus Project List

Phone numbers belonging to Singh feature on the leaked database from 2017 onwards. In 2018, a second number associated with him features on the list along with two numbers associated with his wife as well as numbers belonging to his two sisters. One of his sisters, Abha Singh, is a former Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer who now works as a lawyer based in Mumbai.

Singh, who was then the joint director of the Lucknow zone of the ED, was also considered to be a close aide to former CBI director Alok Verma and had been accused by the BJP top brass of building an “anti-Rakesh Asthana narrative” with the latter. During this period, the Supreme Court had also given the government a go-ahead to investigate Singh for having amassed disproportionate assets. 

Also Read: The Law May Permit the State to Intercept Phones but Not to Weaponise Them

Singh’s number figures on the snooping list before Verma was targeted, which suggests that his involvement in several high-profile investigations carried out by the ED are what led him to be a potential target for surveillance. This point is further suggested by the fact that the government’s investigation into him for having “disproportionate assets” came only after he had been added to the potential Pegasus list. 

The government enquiry into Singh had not been able to find anything of significance against him. After taking a long leave to pursue legal studies following the filing of the chargesheet against Chidambaram in the Aircel-Maxis case, Singh is currently posted in the Lucknow office of the ED with 12 years of service remaining.

Read The Wire’s coverage on the Pegasus Project here.