Port Trust official held on graft charge

Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: Sleuths of the Central Bureau of Investigation arrested a senior official of the Chennai Port Trust after he took Rs.6,000, allegedly as bribe, for issuing a certificate to clear a consignment of imported fruits here on Friday.

A search on the residential premises and bank locker of the official revealed cash/liquid assets to the tune of Rs.1.35 crore and proof of immovable assets in Chennai and Bangalore.

According to agency sources, N.C. Alexander, a leading importer/exporter of fruits approached the CBI’s Anti-Corruption Branch with a complaint that Port Health Officer, V.V. Sairam Babu, was demanding Rs.6,000 for issuing the certificate to facilitate delivery of a consignment of Washington Apples.

Special team

A special team was formed to investigate the complaint. It laid a trap and arrested Dr. Sairam Babu after he received the money through Customs House Agents V.A. Manisekaran and A.C. Bhoopathy on Friday evening in the presence of official witnesses.

A case under Section 7 (public servant taking gratification other than legal remuneration) and Section 12 (abetment) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, has been registered.

About 300 fruit agents in the city regularly import fruit consignments from the US, China and Australia.

The complainant in the case is a major importer, who distributes fruits to different parts of the country.