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Senior GAIL official arrested by CBI on graft charge

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has arrested a senior official of the Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) for allegedly receiving bribes on the promise of allowing some discount to the buyers of petro-chemical products. Five other accused persons were earlier arrested.

GAIL Director (Marketing) E.S. Ranganathan was named in the First Information Report (FIR) along with alleged middlemen Pawan Gaur, Rajesh Kumar and N. Ramakrishnan Nair; Saurabh Gupta of United Polymer Industries (Chandigarh) and Aditya Bansal of Bansal Agencies (Karnal, Haryana).

During the searches on Mr. Ranganathan's premises, the agency seized close to ₹1.30 crore in cash. This apart, ₹84 lakh was also found in the possession of other accused persons. Earlier, the CBI had arrested the three middlemen and Mr. Gupta and Mr. Bansal.

It is alleged that Mr. Ranganathan had been receiving bribes through the middlemen. Mr. Kumar and Mr. Gaur had asked him to allow some discount to the buyers of petro-chemical products in lieu of illegal gratification and in this regard, they also met him at his residence in Noida Sector-62 on December 11 and at Hotel Leela in Delhi on December 14 last year.

On December 17, Mr. Kumar received bribes from the beneficiaries and delivered the same to Mr. Gaur, from whose house Mr. Nair collected ₹40 lakh the next day on the official's instruction. When asked, he later informed Mr. Gaur that he would sign the order on his return from Mumbai.

Meanwhile, as alleged, Mr. Kumar contacted two other prospective beneficiaries — Mr. Gupta and Mr. Bansal. On January 13, he told Mr. Gupta that the GAIL official had scaled down the bribe amount from ₹15 lakh to ₹12 lakh. Mr. Gupta had already given ₹3 lakh to Mr. Kumar and was to send ₹9.20 lakh via “hawala” on January 14.

Acting on the information, the CBI laid a trap and arrested two persons with ₹10 lakh in cash. The other arrests were made thereafter.

According to the FIR, in November 2021, Mr. Ranganathan had got surprise checks conducted on the premises of some authorised stockists of GAIL on the request of Mr. Gaur and Mr. Kumar. However, he alerted some of the parties he favoured.


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Printable version | May 21, 2022 12:52:12 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/gail-director-arrested-by-cbi-in-bribery-case/article38277746.ece