File image of former CBI acting director M. Nageswara Rao | PTI
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Shankar, popularly known as Savukku Shankar, had written to the CBI in February, listing a number of charges against Nageshwar Rao.

Chandigarh: A Chennai-based whistle-blower has sought to know what action the CBI has taken on his complaints against the agency’s present interim director Nageshwar Rao. The complaints were sent to the CBI eight months ago.

Shankar, an activist and whistle-blower popularly known as Savukku Shankar, had in February written two emails addressed to the joint director, policy division, CBI, listing over two dozen serious allegations against Rao. The CBI, however, is yet to take any action on his complaints.

“I want to know what happened to my complaints. What is the status of the inquiry, if any, on what I had written to the CBI about Rao?” Shankar said while talking to ThePrint.

He said his complaints were not anonymous and carried his name and phone number.

“I did that expecting that the CBI would sit up and take notice of the allegations and contact me for further details,” said Shankar. “I had a lot of supporting documents to show the CBI. But not one person contacted me all these months.”

Most of the allegations against Rao contained in the two letters, dated 20 February and 27 February, are now in the public domain.

“I was the first to inform the CBI about Rao’s wife depositing loans in a Kolkata-based shell company, Angela Merchantile, but the agency took no cognisance of it,” he said.

Rao has denied these allegations, terming them as “incorrect and untrue.”

The 1986-batch Odisha cadre IPS officer has said that his wife had no unaccounted for money and that all the transactions with the said company were above board.

Also read: CBI corrupt, scared to pursue case: Kin of bureaucrat who named officers in suicide note

The allegations

In his first letter to the CBI, Shankar referred to the allegation against Rao during his tenure in his parent state of Odisha. Rao allegedly approved the purchase of uniforms and dungarees worth Rs 3 crore for fire service personnel without following the tender procedures or the approval of a technical committee.

Rao was then the additional director general, fire services, Odisha. Shankar added that Rao’s successor to the post, Binay Behara, sent a report in this regard to the Odisha government over which an internal audit was also carried out.

The matter was also reported widely in 2016.

Shankar further alleged that Rao had, with the assistance of a middleman from Andhra Pradesh, closed investigations against certain officials of the ordnance clothing factory at Avadi in Chennai.

Shankar also referred to Rao shutting down an inquiry against 70 IRS officers whose names figured in the Sanjay Bhandari diaries. Details of the VGN probe and how it was scuttled too is referred to in the complaint.

He added that Rao is “connected to Telugu officers in Tamil Nadu and is in the habit of passing on sensitive information to the officers”. Shankar has named a senior Tamil Nadu officer in his complaint.

In his second letter to CBI dated 27 February 2018, Shankar gave additional information about Rao’s wife’s dealing with Angela Merchantile.

Apart from the details of the deal, Shankar alleged that Rao caused the transfer of an SP level officer working under him from Mumbai to Kolkata to “cover his tracks”.

The allegations were made public after Rao took over as the interim CBI director.

Although a majority of these allegations have already been made public, Rao has responded only to the allegations against his wife.

Also read: Not just Narendra Modi govt, CVC and Supreme Court also to blame for killing CBI

Who is A. Shankar?

A whistle-blower, Shankar runs the popular Twitter account, Savukku Shankar, apart from other online portals.

“I am a whistle-blower and an activist,” Shankar told ThePrint.

A Wikipedia reference on him, however, says that he was a clerk in the directorate of vigilance and anti-corruption, and also runs a whistle-blowing web blog. In 2014, the website was blocked on Madras High Court orders following a defamation writ filed by a TV employee.

In a different matter, Shankar was charged under Sections 66, 70 and 72 of the Information Technology Act. He was alleged to have leaked a conversation between former Tamil Nadu chief secretary L.K. Tripathi and former Director of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption S.K. Upadhayaya. Shankar was acquitted in February 2017.

The Wikipedia reference on Shankar adds that the first blog post was published anonymously on the website in September 2010 and it currently has around 960 posts since then, including taped conversations of the 2G scam.

In 2010-2011, when (the then) AAP  leader and senior advocate Prashant Bhushan released the tapes of an alleged conversation between DMK Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi and the then TN police chief of intelligence, Jaffar Sait, it is said that it had been made public by the website three days earlier.

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