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LC Goyal replaces Anil Goswami as Union Home Secretary

NEW DELHI(PTI): Anil Goswami has been replaced by the rural development secretary L C Goyal, a 1979 batch IAS officer of Kerala cadre, who has served in the home ministry in the position of the joint secretary internal security.

Taking a tough stand on the “unholy politician-bureaucratic nexus”, the BJP-led NDA government on Wednesday removed union home secretary Anil Goswami.

The decision to remove Goswami can have a bearing on the Delhi assembly elections, as it is expected to give a strong signal that Modi government is a no-nonsense regime when it comes to issues relating to corruption, a hallmark of AAP.

Goswami put in his papers at around 8:30pm after being told to do so by the union home minister Rajnath Singh.

He has been replaced by the rural development secretary L C Goyal, a 1979 batch IAS officer of Kerala cadre, who has served in the home ministry in the position of the joint secretary internal security.

The decision to remove Goswami came within hours after he was summoned by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) in the afternoon to explain his alleged role in trying to stall the arrest of Matang Sinh, a former Congress leader and union cabinet minister in former prime minister Narasimha Rao’s government in multi-crore Saradha scam probe.

Summoned by the union home minister Rajnath Singh to explain his questionable conduct, Goswami admitted to have spoken to top CBI officials on behalf of Matang Sinh, seeking their help to slowdown probe against Matang’s role in Saradha scam.

What is the Saradha scam?

The Kolkata-based Saradha Group, primarily a cash-collecting company, is accused of duping about 1.7 million investors across West Bengal, Odisha, Assam and Tripura. Saradha ponzi scheme was the brainchild of Sudipta Sen who started off by buying up small plots of land. The scam is believed to be of around Rs 10,000 crore and it came to light in April, 2013 after the group downed shutters without repaying the investors.

In the meeting that lasted over one hour, Singh sought explanation of Goswami’s alleged role in trying to stall the arrest of Matang Sinh.

Sources confirmed that during the meeting with Singh, Goswami accepted speaking to the CBI officers, perhaps, realising that his position was becoming increasingly untenable. Goswami also tried to explain circumstances and reasons for his action.

“After home secretary’s admission, the home minister conveyed that his (Goswami’s) situation has become untenable and he cannot continue as home secretary,” sources added.

In a back to back meeting, the home minister discussed the issue with CBI director Anil Sinha for more than 30 minutes, following which Goswami met Sinha.

The quagmire thickened around Goswami when he was called by the Prime Minister’s Office to explain his questionable and grave misconduct in the country’s top bureaucratic position.

Prime minister Narendra Modi, who was already briefed by Rajnath Singh on the issue, took a grim view of the developments as there was prima facie evidence against Goswami of indulging in politician-bureaucrat nexus.

The body language of the union home secretary was lacking in confidence as he tried to evade the media throughout the day and according to his office was in a morass mood.

Goswami, a 1978 batch J&K cadre officer, was appointed by former prime minister Manmohan Singh at the behest of the then union cabinet minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and also heavyweight politician Matang Sinh.

He, according to sources, was in touch with Matang Sinh during his tenure as union home secretary.

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