Railway bribery case: CBI to quiz Bansal soon

New Delhi, May 9: Railway Min Pawan Kumar Bansal is likely to be quizzed soon by the CBI in connection with the alleged Rs 10 crore bribery scandal involving his nephew V Singla and Railway Board member Mahesh Kumar, both of whom reportedly met at his residence.

The agency on Thursday grilled the minister's personal secretary Rahul Bhandari, a 1997 batch Punjab cadre IAS officer, who is believed to be privy to all the crucial decisions taken in the ministry.

CBI sources said they would seek clarification from Bansal on a range of issues related to elevation of Kumar in the Railway Board, why he was allowed to retain additional charge of GM (West) and were any senior officers sidelined in promoting him to Railway Board as Member (Staff).

He might also be asked about alleged references in the intercepted phone conversations of Singla, where he is heard repeatedly taking Bansal's name, apparently to show his clout.

Bansal's name crops up several times in over 1000 phone calls intercepted by the agency over a period of two months as part of surveillance on Singla and Kumar.

The sources said before approaching Bansal, the agency is likely to examine his OSD Vitul Kumar, an 1993-batch IPS officer of Uttar Pradesh cadre, who is his sister's son-in- law.

Vitul would be the second official working in the Minister's office under the CBI scanner after Bhandari. Bhandari faced tough questions from the CBI on transfers and postings in the ministry.

The sources said primarily the phone intercepts relate to conversations between Singla, Kumar and middlemen Manjunath and Sandeep Goyal.

They said all indications in the probe so far lead to Bansal's office which makes his examination crucial for the agency.

The agency parried questions on reports that Singla and Kumar met at Bansal's residence and that the minister was in the loop on the deal for Kumar's new posting in the Board.

CBI Director Ranjit Sinha evaded questions on the controversy surrounding the Railway Minister and said details regarding ongoing investigations cannot be made public.

During the day, former BJP MP Kirit Somaiya handed to him some documents about alleged financial links of family conmpanies of Bansal and demanded a thorough probe.

The CBI has arrested eight persons in connection with the bribery scandal. CBI had arrested Singla for receiving Rs 90 lakh part payment of "bribe amount" allegedly routed by Kumar to Singla through middlemen.

The sources said the money was part of the Rs 10 crore promised for lateral shifting of Kumar from Member (Staff) to Member (Electrical), which is considered a lucrative posting.

Bribery case: Rly Min's nephew, four others remanded in JC

Five accused, including Railway Min P K Bansal's nephew and suspended Member (Staff) in the Railway Board, were remanded in judicial custody till 20th May by a Delhi court in connection with the Rs 10 crore railway bribery case.

Bansal's nephew Vijay Singla, Mahesh Kumar, the suspended Railway Board member, and three other accused -- Singla's close aide Ajay Garg, businessman Sandeep Goyal and Managing Director of GG Tronics India Pvt Ltd, Narain Rao Manjunath, were produced before Special CBI Judge Swarna Kanta Sharma on Thursday after expiry of their CBI custody.

CBI moved an application seeking to send them in judicial custody, saying the investigation in the case is in progress and it is still at an initial stage.

The agency told the court that crucial witnesses are yet to be examined and some documents are to be collected from various departments.

It said since the allegations against the accused are serious in nature and they are influential persons, they should be remanded in judicial custody. The court accepted CBI's plea and sent all the five accused to judicial custody.

On 7th May, accused Vivek Kumar, Dharmendra Kumar, businessmen Samir Sandhir and Rahul Yadav were also remanded in judicial custody till 20th May after the agency said their further custodial interrogation was not required. One of the accused Sushil Dagga is yet to be arrested.

All the accused persons have been booked by CBI for their alleged roles in the bribery case, in which a deal of Rs 10 crore was allegedly finalised for getting Mahesh Kumar appointed to a more lucrative post in the Railway Board as Member (Electrical).

According to CBI, Manjunath's firm was engaged in the business of manufacturing railway signal products and other components whereas Goyal's company Pyramid Electronics was manufacturing electrical equipment for the Railways. Manjunath was in regular contact with Mahesh Kumar, the agency said.

Manjunath and Kumar were also in regular touch with Goyal for this purpose, it said, adding that Goyal had allegedly assured Kumar that he will get him posted as Member (Electrical) in exchange for "pecuniary gratification."

The agency said the deal was struck at Rs 10 crore to get Kumar appointed as Member (Electrical) and a part payment of Rs 90 lakhs, which was allegedly managed by accused Vivek Kumar, was made.

The court, while sending the five accused to judicial custody, said that the probe into the case is at its crucial stage and other accused are yet to be arrested by CBI.

"In view of the submission made before me, accused persons Vijay Singla, Sandeep Goyal, N R Manjunath, Ajay Garg and Mahesh Kumar are remanded to JC till May 20, 2103 since the other accused persons are also in JC till May 20, 2013 and the investigation is at its crucial stage and other persons are still to be arrested," the judge said on Thursday.

During the proceedings, Manjunath moved an application for his medical examination and treatment and the court directed the Tihar Jail superintendent to get him examined by the doctor in the prison today itself and provide him the required medicines.

The court also asked the jail superintendent to get Singla examined by the doctor in the prison today after he said he has been prescribed some medicines by doctors.

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Courtesy:ISTV Imphal


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