CBI registers case to probe bribe offer by scribe to ED sleuth

Last Updated: Tuesday, May 3, 2011 - 19:29

New Delhi: CBI has begun investigation into
the alleged bribe offer made by a journalist said to be on
behalf of Corporate lobbyist Niira Radia after registering a
case following a complaint by Enforcement Directorate.

Highly-placed sources in the agency said a Preliminary
Enquiry (PE) has been registered and the journalist -- Upendra
Rai -- will be called for questioning soon after the statement
of Enforcement Directorate was recorded.

The Enforcement Directorate has asked the CBI to probe
the incident claiming that Rai, working as Director (News)
Sahara News Network, had approached one of its officers,
probing the 2G scam, with a bribe offer of Rs two crore.

The sources said the probe into the PE has begun and it
would be completed in three months.

When contacted, Rai denied the allegations and said that
he would cooperate in the probe. "I hope that a through probe
is carried out in the case which includes summoning of the ED
official who made allegation against me," he said.

He acknowledged that he had known corporate lobbyist
Niira Radia but that was on the professional front as he was
heading the business department of another news channel.

"During the last so many years, I may have spoken or met
her for not more than eight to ten times," he said and termed
it as a "deep-rooted conspiracy to malign" him.

Rai said he had met the officer in question -- Assistant
Director Rajeshwar Singh -- merely for "five minutes".

The allegation is that the journalist had sought an
appointment with the official on the pretext of "furnishing
some information" in its probe in the 2G scam. The ED is
probing alleged violation of Prevention of Money Laundering
Act in the spectrum scam.

Denying any association with Rai or the bribe offer, a
spokesperson for Vaishnavi Corporate Communications Private
Limited said "we categorically deny the allegations as
mentioned.

"We are not aware of any journalist acting on our
behalf. It is a matter of record that we have always
cooperated with all the investigative agencies and have been
available for all personal appearances on intimation.

"We welcome proper and thorough investigation by the
authorities to unearth the truth. We hope that the truth will
emerge and lay to rest all these wild allegations," the
spokesperson said.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, May 3, 2011 - 19:29

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