Hawala dealer names Buta's son as beneficiary



Mumbai: The trouble for Sarobjot Singh, son of Chairman of schedule castes panel Buta Singh, seems to be far from over as hawala operator Shamlal Chaudhari has claimed in his confessional statement that the bribe money of Rs one crore was to be transferred to Singh from Bangalore.

Bangalore-based Chaudhari had appeared before a court as the CBI was in the lookout for him after which he decided to record his confessional statement before a magistrate under Section 164 of Criminal Procedure Code.

Sources in the CBI said while the agency was finalising the chargesheet in the case, the confessional statement of Chaudhari, who has been listed as one of the prime witnesses, will form part of it.

Singh was arrested by the CBI on July 31 for allegedly demanding and accepting a bribe of Rs one crore from Nashik- based contractor Ramrao Patil for closing a case against him pending before the National Commission for Scheduled Castes headed by his father Buta Singh. He is now out on bail.

Patil had allegedly taken a loan of around Rs 10 crore from a cooperative society on behalf of over 100 people from the Dalit community. He allegedly pocketed the money following which a case was registered against him.

CBI sources in Delhi said Chaudhari appeared before the agency and had agreed to assist in the investigations. His statement has been recorded before a magistrate as a witness in the case and not as an accused. He also gave full details of the hawala transaction and its beneficiaries, they said.

According to CBI, the bribe amount, first received by hawala operators in Mumbai, was to be transferred to Buta Singh's son from Bangalore. Sarobjot Singh has denied any involvement in the case.

The CBI had been listening to telephonic conversations between Sarobjot Singh, Patil and three other accused in the case since July 31. The CBI claims that Singh had asked another accused Anup Begi to collect Rs one crore from a hotel in suburban Chembur on July 29 and then call a mobile number that allegedly belonged to Mumbai-based hawala operator Madan Singh Solanki.

Solanki was supposed to send money to Chaudhuri, who in turn claimed in his confessional statement that the money was to be transferred to Sarobjot Singh.

The CBI also recorded the statement NCSC Chairman Buta Singh on September 10 in connection with the case after he initially refusing to acknowledge CBI summons.

"Whatever information they had sought, I have given," Buta had told reporters. Before this, he had struck a defiant note saying CBI has no authority to question a Constitutional functionary having powers of a civil court and had filed a petition against the CBI summons before the Delhi High Court.

The CBI told the court that Buta had been summoned under Section 160 of CrPC (calling for a witness) and the agency had every right to call him.

Bureau Report