Railways bribe case: CBI to grill four accused till May 9

New Delhi, May 7 (IANS) A Delhi court Tuesday remanded four accused, including Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal’s nephew Vijay Singla and businessman Ajay Garg, to CBI custody till May 9 in the railways bribe case. Four other co-accused were sent to judicial custody.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Special Judge Swarna Kanta Sharma sent accused Garg, an aide of Bansal’s nephew arrested during the day, to the probe agency’s custody till May 9.

Co-accused Singla, N.R. Manjunath and Sandeep Goyal were also sent to CBI custody for days when presented in court after expiry of their four days’ remand.

While considering the probe agency’s plea seeking custody of the four accused, the judge said: “I have considered the fact that one accused who is named in the FIR i.e. Sunil Daga is still absconding and is yet to be arrested and the accused persons may provide an effective clue about his whereabouts.”

The court approved the CBI custody of the accused “so that the entire conspiracy and the role played by each player in the conspiracy becomes clear”.

In a related development, the CBI recovered jewellery and property documents from the Mumbai house of co-accused and railway official Mahesh Kumar.

“We have recovered some property documents and jewellery from Mahesh Kumar’s house in Mumbai,” an informed source told IANS.

Sending the accused to CBI custody for questioning, the court said: “…the intercepted conversation runs into 1,000 phone calls and it will be impossible to confront each accused with conversation running into many hours.”

“…the case is primarily based on intercepted conversation, along with other documentary evidence, it is crucial that each accused be confronted with the conversation not only individually, but also in the presence of each other,” the court said sending the accused to CBI custody.

The court sent four other co-accused — Vivek Kumar, Dharmendra, Rahul Yadav and Samir Sandhir — to 14 days judicial custody.

The investigating agency told the court that Garg was an “active participant” in the controversy and was in regular contact with Singla and Goyal.

“Their answers/replies are contrary to their recorded conversation hence further custodial investigation is required to bring out the events in their exact chronology as well as for ascertaining the identity of accomplices of accused persons,” the agency told the court while seeking their police remand.

“The source of of Rs.2 crore which was to be paid to Vijay Singla on behalf of Mahesh Kumar is also to be ascertained. What benefits Mahesh Kumar had extended in the past to the persons who had arranged the bribe money and what benefits he had promised them this time are also be unearthed,” it added.

Garg, who owns a multi-crore-rupee company which supplies electrical goods to the railways, was close to Bansal’s nephew Singla, the CBI said.

Singla allegedly accepted a bribe of Rs.90 lakh from Kumar for his (Kumar’s) appointment as member (electrical) of the powerful Railway Board.

Kumar, who was general manager (west), railways, had been promoted as member (staff) in the Railway Board and was allegedly trying to get himself appointed to a more “lucrative” post as member (electrical), the CBI said.

The CBI arrested all the accused for their alleged roles in the bribe case in which a deal of Rs.10 crore was finalised for arranging for the top position in the Railway Board for Kumar.

The first information report (FIR) was filed against the accused under the Indian Penal Code’s section 120B (criminal conspiracy) read with section 7, 8 and 10 of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

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