Determined to drill deep into the layers of conspiracy behind the purported deal struck by Railway Board Member (Staff) Mahesh Kumar with Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal’s nephew Vijay Singla and his accomplices for securing the post of Railway Board Member (Electrical), the Central Bureau of Investigation is all set to “interview” Mr. Bansal
On condition of anonymity, CBI officials on Sunday said that in order to prepare a watertight case they would “investigate the case to its logical end” and probe all those connected with the main conspirators. Since Mr. Bansal is the Railway Minister and related to one of the accused, the agency would have to approach him for clarifications as the investigation progresses, they said.
Countering Mr. Singla’s claim, made before a Delhi court, that the money (Rs. 90 lakh cash) seized from him was meant for some land deal, sources in the agency said they had “incontrovertible proof” of his complicity in the crime. On the basis of that they had set out to probe the case and arrest the accused, the sources added. With this, nine persons have been arrested in this case so far.
The electronic and other material evidence gathered prior to the arrest of Mr. Singla and his accomplice Sandeep Goyal would be placed before the court for perusal whenever needed.
The CBI has registered the case under Section 7 (public servant taking gratification), Section 8 (taking gratification to influence public servant) and Section 10 (Punishment for abetment by public servant) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, besides Section 120-B (conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code.
Since the Prevention of Corruption Act provisions invoked are regarding scheduled offences under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, officials said the Directorate of Enforcement would also probe the money trail. Transactions made through the companies in which the accused have interests will also be scrutinised.
The CBI, which seized property and investment documents of the accused during raids in New Delhi, Chandigarh and Bangalore following the arrests on Friday night, has also sought their Income tax return details.
The FIR alleged that Mahesh Kumar had arranged the bribe amount with the help of his accomplice Narayan Rao Manjunath, the managing director of Bangalore-based G.G. Tronics India Private Limited, to immediately pay Mr. Singal and his accomplices — Sandeep Goyal and Ajay Garg. This, sources added, was allegedly an interim payment that Mr. Kumar made in order to secure the additional charge of General Manager (Western Railway and Signal and Telecommunication) till he was appointed as Railway Board Member (Electrical), the post that he sought.
While Mr. Kumar and Mr. Manjunath were arrested in Mumbai and Bangalore respectively, the CBI also arrested the two courier boys, Dharmendra and Vivek, besides Mr. Manjunath’s business associates Rahul Yadav and Samir Sandhir. The agency also arrested Sushil Daga, another accused in the case.
Sources said after the detection of the close-knit network of alleged middlemen, industrialists regularly dealing with the Indian Railway and a top Railway Ministry official, they received positive responses from within the Ministry. “We are expecting more information on cartels operating in connivance with unknown insiders to bag lucrative contracts,” said an official.