1st women DRI Director Gen under CBI probe

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New Delhi, Sep 27: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is investigating a corruption case allegedly involving Vijai Lakshmi Sharma, the first woman chief of revenue intelligence department.

CBI sources said the case dates back to 2001 when residences of six customs officials, including Sharma"s, who was then Customs Commissioner, Delhi, were searched by the CBI in connection with a case of alleged customs duty evasion by Essar Oil Limited in 1999.

Sharma, a 1975 batch officer of Indian Customs and Central Excise service became the Chief of Directorate of Revenue Intelligence this week after Cabinet Committee on Appointments cleared her name for the top post.

“It is a long drawn complicated case and it has been examined at various levels including at Central Excise and Gold Appellate Tribunal (CEGAT), Supreme Court, Central Vigilance Commission and DRI.

“Because of the legal complications, CBI not being made a party in the Supreme Court and non-availability of records from DRI, the CBI could not proceed with further probe. Now the investigation is in process and is likely to be concluded shortly," said agency spokesperson Harsh Bhal.

Sharma, the first woman to head DRI since its inception in 1957 is not the main accused in the case but shared 'proximity' with one of the accused late senior Customs official.

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