Bribery Case: Bansal's Nephew Sent to 4-Day CBI Custody

New Delhi
Bribery Case: Bansal's Nephew Sent to 4-Day CBI Custody
Vijay Singla, nephew of Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, and three others were today sent in CBI custody for four days by a Delhi court which said it was necessary to find out the "actual beneficiaries" and other conspirators who were involved in the bribery case.

Special CBI Judge Swarana Kanta Sharma allowed the agency to interrogate Singla and three other persons Sandip Goyal, Dharmendra Kumar and Vivek Kumar till May 7.

"I am of the view that only four accused have been arrested as yet whereas there are eight accused persons named in the FIR, two of whom have been arrested but are yet to be brought to Delhi.

"Considering the nature of the crime, I am of the opinion that custodial interrogation is essential to not only find out the source of the bribe amount but also the fact as to who are the actual beneficiaries and other conspirators other than those named in the FIR, if any.

"I, therefore, grant police custody remand for four days," the judge said.

CBI arrested the four accused for their alleged roles in the bribe case in which a deal of Rs 10 crore was finalised between them for fixing a top level position in the Railway Board.

Seeking five-day custody of the accused, CBI prosecutor Akshay Gautam said it had received information that one accused Narain Rao Manjunath, Managing Director of G G Tronics India Pvt Ltd, was in regular contact with accused Mahesh Kumar who was trying to get himself appointed to a more lucrative post in Railway Board as Member (Electrical).

Mahesh Kumar, who was GM (West) Railways, had been promoted as Member (Staff) in Railway Board and he was trying to get himself posted as Member (Electrical) in Railway Board, it said.

It said Manjunath and Mahesh Kumar were also in regular touch with businessman Goyal for this purpose. Goyal had assured Mahesh Kumar that he will get him posted as Member (Electrical) in Railway Board in lieu of "pecuniary gratification."

Regarding the conspiracy, CBI said that out of the total deal amount of Rs 10 crore, a part payment of Rs 90 lakhs, which was allegedly managed by accused Vivek Kumar, was made out.

CBI said it needs custodial interrogation of the four accused to find out the source of bribe amount of Rs two crore and it has to interrogate Singla to know from where he got Rs 89.68 lakh, which has been recovered.

Apart from these four accused, CBI had also named four other persons in the FIR for the offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act and for criminal conspiracy under the IPC.

During the arguments, CBI told the court that Mahesh Kumar is the main accused in the case and he has been arrested in Mumbai and he is yet to be brought to Delhi.

Regarding Manjunath, CBI said he was the "main financier" and has been arrested in Bangalore. It told the court that the transit remand of both the accused have been taken.

It said Goyal had informed Mahesh Kumar and Manjunath that the present Chairman of Railway Board was to retire in June this year and then the present Member (Electrical) Kulbhushan will be posted as Chairman of the Board.

Goyal had said he would then manage to get Mahesh Kumar appointed as Member (Electrical) through "his contact in the Railway Ministry" and had demanded Rs 10 crore for this work, it said.

The agency also said it was decided between the accused that Rs five crore will be paid before appointment and the rest of the money will be paid after the Mahesh Kumar's appointment as Member (Electrical).

It said Mahesh Kumar had decided to take bribe of Rs two crore from Manjunath and other businessmen, dealing with Railways, for making payment to Goyal with a promise that he will help them in future since they were dealing with Railways as suppliers.

 CBI said "it is, therefore, stated that accused persons, who have already been arrested and those who are yet to be arrested, need to be confronted with each other to unearth a larger conspiracy as to who was the actual beneficiary of the bribe amount of Rs 10 crore and Rs two crore."

It said the first tranche of Rs 90 lakh was given to Singla who was apprehended while accepting the money.

During the hearing, CBI told the court that they need to arrest Samir Sandhir and one Rahul Yadav to unearth the entire conspiracy and for that custodial interrogation of the accused was necessary.

The defence counsel, appearing for the four accused, opposed CBI's plea for custody saying their clients have already told the agency what they knew and there was nothing more which they could tell to the investigators.

The counsel, appearing for Singha, told the court that Rs 90 lakhs, which CBI is claiming to have recovered from him, was given to him for some land deal and had nothing to do with the appointment of Mahesh Kumar.

During the hearing, some lawyers interrupted the proceedings alleging Railway Minister Pawan Bansal should be taken into custody by CBI.

The defence counsel, however, told the court thay they have no locus standi and they should not take any name or make any allegations against anyone as CBI is investigating the case and will tell the court about their probe.

The judge also refused to hear the demands of the lawyers saying they do not have any locus standi to argue in this matter.
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