Bansal’s nephew, three others sent to four days CBI custody

New Delhi May 4 (IANS) A special court here Saturday granted the CBI four days custody of Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal’s nephew Vijay Singla and three others, arrested for allegedly taking a bribe to ensure the promotion of a top railway official.

Special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court judge Swarana Kanta Sharma granted four days custody “considering the nature of crime”.

“Considering the nature of crime, I am of the opinion the custodial interrogation is essential to not only find out the source of bribe amount but also the fact as to who are actual beneficiaries and other conspirators other than those named in FIR, if any. I therefore, grant police custody remand for four days till May 7, 2013,” the court said.

The investigating agency produced Singla, Sandeep Goyal, Dharmendra Kumar, and Vivek Kumar before the special CBI court.

Singla, a multi-millionaire businessman from Chandigarh who is Bansal’s sister’s son, his friend Sanjay Goyal and two others were brought by the CBI team to New Delhi for investigation.

Dharmendra Kumar and Vivek Kumar had carried the bribe money to Singla Friday evening.

Seeking five days police custody of four accused, the CBI said: “In order to unearth the deep rooted larger conspiracy in the case, the sustained custodial interrogation of all the four accused persons is essentially required to ascertain the sources of the bribe amount which was paid to Vijay Singla.”

Singla was accused of allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs.90 lakh from senior railway officer Mahesh Kumar for his (Kumar’s) appointment as a member of the powerful Railway Board.

Kumar was appointed a member of the Railway Board May 2 by Bansal’s ministry.

The agency told the court that Dharmender Kumar and Vivek Kumar visited Chandigarh from Delhi in two separate cars to pay illegal gratification of Rs. 90 lakh through Sandeep Goyal – a businessman – for getting the choice posting as member (electrical) for Mahesh Kumar in Railway Board.

Goyal and Singla were arrested by the CBI on May 4 while accepting the bribe money.

The CBI told the court that they need to ascertain what benefit had been given in past to the people who had arranged the bribe money and what benefit was agreed to be given by Mahesh Kumar.

“We need to know who are the other persons who had instrumental in paying the bribe amount to Singla and the people among whom the bribe was to be shared,” said the special public prosecutor.

It further added that they need the custody of accused for the purpose of recovering the amount in crores which was to be paid to Singla subsequently and also for ascertaining the identity of the officials with whom Singla was suppose to talk or contact for getting the post desired by Mahesh Kumar.

The CBI alleged that Goyal had informed Mahesh Kumar and Narayan Rao Manjunath, MD of a G.G. Tronics India Pvt. Ltd. that he would manage to get Kumar appointed as member (electrical) through his contacts in the railway ministry. “Goyal demanded Rs.10 crore for this purpose – Rs. 5 crore in cash before appointment and balance after the appointment.”

Mahesh had agreed to obtain initial payment of Rs. 2 crore as illegal gratification from Manjunath and other businessmen dealing with the railways for making payment to Goyal. Manjunath had agreed to pay Rs. 1 crore to Goyal, alleged CBI.

The FIR was filed against eight accused – Mahesh Kumar, member (staff) railway board, Manjunath, Goyal, Singla, Ajay Garg, Rahul Yadav, Samir Sandhir and Sushil Daga under section 120 B IPC (criminal conspiracy) read with under section 7, 8 and 10 of Prevention of Corruption Act.

The CBI teams continued raids through Friday night on the palatial residence of Singla in Sector 28 here, located close to the residence of the railway minister.

Raids were also conducted at the residence of Goyal in Sector 16 and at the office premises of both Singla and Goyal. Documents, laptops and other items were taken away by the CBI.

CBI sources said the telephone calls of Singla, Kumar and others were being monitored for the last few days before the CBI decided to make the arrests.

Amid calls from political quarters for his sacking or resignation, Bansal distanced himself from the bribery scandal involving his nephew.

In a statement released in New Delhi, Bansal admitted that a “close relative” was arrested but claimed that he had no business dealings with his nephew.

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