Within 59 days of being given a one-year extension as the Inspector General (IG) (Investigations) of National Investigation Agency (NIA), Sanjeev Kumar Singh was on Friday relieved from the post and asked to report back to his parent cadre of Madhya Pradesh.

Singh, an IPS of 1987 Madhya Pradesh cadre had held a press conference on 10 August at the NIA headquarters making public the audio-video confessional statement of Pakistani Lashkar-e-Tayyaba terrorist, Bahadur Ali.

As per agency sources, the order to give him a one-year extension was issued on 22 June by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) after Home Secretary Rajiv Meharishi made a special request. However, the same order was cancelled by the ACC on 19 August.

Sources said that the extension was cancelled after directions for the same were received from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on 18 August. These sources added that the press conference done by him, apparently after receiving the permission from his boss, NIA DG Sharad Kumar, did not go down well with the top brass, after which the PMO sent a note (no 4454541/PMO/2016/Pol/18.8.2016), seeking the immediate removal of Singh from the NIA. The practice of senior officers rushing to the media without high-level clearance has come into focus since Prime Minister Modi has taken office.

Sanjeev Kumar Singh, who was also the spokesperson of the NIA, was handling crucial cases being investigated by the NIA including ISIS modules in India, the Pathankot terror strike, the Burdwan blast, Lashkar terror modules, fake Indian currency notes and the blasts at Bodh Gaya and Patna’s Gandhi Maidan that had taken place during the election rally of trhen Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. Sanjeev Singh, who was also investigating the alleged “Hindu terror” plot, had according to agency sources, told the then UPA political leadership that the agency had found no credible evidence of a “larger Hindu terror” plot.

Singh, who joined the NIA, soon after it was created in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks ogf 2008, was the oldest member of organisation. He is credited with cracking the 2008 Mumbai terror attack by using modern investigation techniques including cyber tracking that led to emails, credit card detail and mobile numbers that led to the collection of irrefutable evidence of Pakistan’s involvement in the attack. However, it must be noted that “such transfers are routine and are in no way a punishment”, according to a senior official who declined to be quoted.

When contacted, Singh too stated that his transfer was a routine process.

He is expected to be appointed in the rank of Additional DG of police in Madhya Pradesh.