CBI likely to question Railway Board members, Chairman

CBI is likely to question Railway Board members, including its Chairman, in connection with the Rs 10 crore bribery scandal.

Updated: May 07, 2013, 23:52 PM IST

New Delhi: CBI is likely to question Railway Board members, including its Chairman, in connection with the Rs 10 crore bribery scandal involving suspended Board member Mahesh Kumar and nephew of Railway Minister P K Bansal.

CBI has collected all the documents from the Ministry related to elevation of Mahesh Kumar from GM (West) to Member (staff).

CBI sources said prima facie analysis of files indicate that Kumar was allegedly favoured by Railway authorities who have recommended his name for the elevation, ignoring other senior officials who could have made it to the board.

The sources said Kumar, who is under the custody of CBI along with Bansal`s nephew Vijay Singla, was allegedly favoured while being appointed as Member (Staff). The sources, however, emphasised that they have not come to a final conclusion after the analysis of the documents and these are just priliminary findings.

They said the agency will go through the minutes of the Appointment Committee of the Cabinet which has chosen Kumar for the Board membership.

The sources said one of the business associates of Singla has come in handy for CBI as he reportedly spilled the beans about the Rs 10 crore bribery scandal.

The sources said information given by this associate during the investigation has indicated that the bribe amount, which was delivered to Singla on May 3, was meant for some top authorities in the Railway Ministry.

Withholding the name of the erstwhile associate of Singla, the sources this person would be their key witness in building a case against the accused and said making his name public could compromise the probe.

At the moment, the agency is focussing to prove that Rs
90 lakh, recovered by it when Singla was apprehended, was actually the bribe amount.

In order to establish it, the agency is banking on phone intercepts which show Bansal`s nephew was in regular touch with the officials of the Railway Ministry who worked closely with the Minister.

The sources said the intercepts between businessman Manjunath, who was arranging the alleged bribe money for Kumar, would also come in handy to bolster its investigations.

They said the role of Bansal is under probe but it is at a very initial stage. The sustained questioning of the accused will bring out the entire conspiracy.

CBI is likely to seek clarifications from the Railway Minister and other Railway officials working directly with him in connection with scam if their role surfaces during the interrogation of the accused.

The agency has so far arrested Singla, Kumar, Manjunath, middlemen Sandeep Goyal, Rahul Yadav besides two courier boys who delivered Rs 90 lakh part-payment of Rs 10 crore bribe.

Ajay Garg, a close aide of Singla and an alleged middleman in the case, was taken into the custody by CBI after he surrendered before a court here.

The case relates to reported aspirations of Kumar for his elevation as Member (electrical) in the Railway Board for which he allegedly contacted Goyal, a close associate of Singla, to manage him the coveted posting.

CBI has alleged Goyal, using his proximity to Singla, assured him that Kumar needed to pay Rs 10 crore as bribe for the posting.

It claimed Kumar was elevated from GM (West) to Member (Staff) in Railway Board, a post in which Kumar was not very interested, and asked Goyal to manage him retain additional charge of GM (West) for which the middleman demanded Rs two crore as immediate payment.

The agency alleged that while a part payment of Rs 90 lakh was delivered to Singla, it carried out searches at their premises and recovered the bribe amount.