Releases CD in which manager levels charges against CM and four Ministers

The Congress has released a compact disc that carries the purported conversation between forensic experts and a bank manager, who claimed during a narco-analysis test that Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh and his Ministers were involved in the Indira Priyadarshini Mahila Nagrik Sahkari Bank scam of 2006.

The CD shows the bank manager, Umesh Sinha, under the influence of the truth serum, levelling charges against Mr. Singh and four of his Ministers.

Congress leaders said the late Dinesh Patel, son of the Pradesh Congress Committee president, Nand Kumar Patel, was planning to reveal this information on June 15, but the CD release was postponed because he was killed along with his father in a Maoist attack.

Bhupesh Baghel, programme coordinator of the Congress, charged that Maoist rebels were “given the contract to kill Congress leaders” so that the CD would never appear in public.

Mr. Sinha and one of the directors, Sulochana Adil, were arrested after the bank went bust in 2006. Investors were allegedly cheated of Rs. 25 crore, what with multiple manipulations in accounts and loans. In 2006, Mr. Umesh Sinha and Ms. Adil were arrested. Mr. Sinha was subjected to a narco-analysis test, during which he alleged that the Chief Minister and four Ministers took one crore each. “I delivered money to Raman Singh and other Ministers and the former Director-General of Police, the late O.P. Rathore,” Mr. Sinha said in the narco test. However, he contradicted himself a few times. Once he said he delivered the money “at the gate” of Mr. Raman Singh’s office-cum- residence and said on several other occasions that he himself had delivered the money to the Chief Minister.

But he stuck to one point throughout the interrogation. “Rita Tiwari, the chairman of the bank, knew everything and money changed hands under instructions from Ms. Tiwari,” he said a few times. Ms. Tiwari, along with other directors, was taken into custody in 2009 and later released on bail.

The BJP rejected the allegations. School Education Minister Brijmohan Agrawal, whose name figured in the CD, said the Congress had the habit of releasing such CDs as polls neared. “This CD came in the public domain a few years ago. There was no similarity in the statements of bank manger Umesh Sinha and the other accused during interrogation. Even the services of the doctor who had conducted the narco test were terminated by the CBI in another case,” Mr. Agrawal told reporters. “Since the Congress does not have any issue, it is using this.”

Inspector-General of Police (Raipur Range) G.P. Singh told reporters that the officer investigating the case had found several serious contradictions in Mr. Sinha’s statement on the CD and evidences on record. He said narco, polygraph and lie detector tests were accepted only as “corroborative evidence and not as independent legal evidences.”

Circulating an SMS of Dinesh Patel, the Congress said Maoists were now acting like “contract killers.” “Perhaps, Dinesh Patel was planning to release this CD on June 15, and so he was killed. The contract was given to Maoists to annihilate him and… Nand Kumar Patel,” Mr. Baghel said.

“On the one hand, the convoy [of Congress leaders] was not protected by the police even after they had intelligence warning, and on the other, Patel and his son were killed weeks before the CD was released. Draw your own conclusion,” Mr. Baghel said.

The Congress demanded a CBI probe into the scam.

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