Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: Claiming innocence in the railgate scam, former Union Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said on Friday that he became a victim of a conspiracy hatched by the rail bureaucracy and the Opposition.
Speaking exclusively to Zee Media, Bansal said, “Neither me nor my family has anything to do with the controversy.”
“I have become a victim of a conspiracy hatched by the Opposition and the rail bureaucracy as I had detected several anomalies in procedures for railway appointments,” he added.
Defending self, the Congress MP from Chandigarh said, “I was linked to as many as 105 companies when my name figured in the scam. People have tendency to jump to conclusion without waiting for the judicial process or judgements.”
"There were several discrepancies in procedures relating to senior-level appointments in the railways, which I had set out to reform. However, I was myself sucked into the vortex of this conspiracy," Bansal said during the exclusive interview.
Bansal also countered claims made by former Railway board chairman Vinay Mittal to the CBI that he as minister had paid no need to suggestions to start the process for appointing a general manager for the Western Railways.
The CBI has named Bansal as a prosecution witness in the cash-for-promotion scam involving his nephew Vijay Singla and former railway board member Mahesh Kumar.
"The file relating to Kumar`s appointment as member (staff) was approved and signed by me on April 18 and forwarded for ACC (Appointments Committee of Cabinet) approval the same day,” he said.
“Following the receipt of the ACC approval on May 1, Kumar took charge on May 2. The next day, the CBI raids happened. So, where was the time for Mittal to repeatedly remind me about the need to fill the post of GM, Western Railways," Bansal said.
"Another officer could not have been appointed as GM before his (Kumar`s) appointment as member (staff)," the former minister pointed out, adding, "No specific orders had been issued by him to enable Kumar to `look after` the charge as GM, Western Railways."
Bansal stressed that baseless allegations were levelled against him including that he had invested crores of rupees in a company owned by his son.
“I have only invested Rs 15 lakhs in my son’s firm and that’s all,” he stated.
The Congress leader reiterated that he had full faith in the country’s judicial system and that he is confident that he will come out clean.
After his unceremonious exit from Rail Bhawan, Bansal is spending most his time in Chandigarh and has maintained a low profile.
The soft-spoken leader, however, said that he will continue the work assigned to him by his party and carry out his duties as MP from Chandigarh till his named is cleared.