Railgate: Accused question CBI's move to make Bansal a witness



New Delhi: Questioning CBI's decision to make former railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal a witness in the Rs 10 crore cash-for-post railway bribery scam, the three arrested accused in the case on Saturday told a Delhi court that the person who should have been made an accused has been set free.

During arguments on the bail pleas of arrested accused Rahul Yadav, Sameer Sandhir and Sushil Daga, their lawyer told the court that the CBI is "implicating" them and they were not involved in the "principal conspiracy" in the case.

"The day when you (CBI) made Mr Bansal a witness in this case, this court should have discharged all the accused. In which direction the investigation is going on?"

"They (CBI) are implicating these poor persons (Yadav, Sandhir and Daga) and the person who should have been made accused is set free," advocate SK Sharma told Special CBI Judge Swarana Kanta Sharma who reserved the order on their bail plea for May 09.

The CBI, in its chargesheet filed on July 02 against 10 accused, including Bansal's nephew Vijay Singla, has made the former Union Railway Minister as a prosecution witness.

During the hearing, the defence counsel argued that these three accused are in custody for over two months and they were not involved in the conspiracy for appointment of then Member (Staff) of Railway Board Mahesh Kumar, the key accused in the case, to the post of Member (Electrical).

The CBI, however, opposed their plea saying they were part of the entire conspiracy and would influence the prosecution witnesses if released on bail.

Meanwhile, the court asked the agency as to why the two chargesheeted accused, CV Venugopal and MV Murali Krishan, were not arrested during the probe while their alleged role was similar to that of Yadav, Sandir and Daga, who are custody for over two months.

"This is very disturbing that these three are arrested while two others (Venugopal and Krishan), who have allegedly played similar roles, are not arrested by the CBI. The other two should have been arrested by the CBI," the judge said. The court told the agency that it is "very strange" that Venugopal and Krishan were not arrested during the probe while all the other accused are in custody.

During the arguments on bail pleas, the counsel appearing for the three accused said that CBI has claimed that a part of the alleged bribe amount was procured by the accused through hawala transactions but there is no proof to substantiate it.

The defence counsel also said that their clients have not contributed their personal money in the alleged bribe amount.

The court had yesterday heard arguments on the bail plea of another co-accused Ajay Garg and had reserved its order for July 8. CBI had opposed Garg's plea, saying that he may try to influence witnesses whose identities have become public with the filing of the chargesheet.

The court had on July 4 taken cognisance of CBI's charge sheet in which the agency has alleged that Singla had demanded Rs 10 crores from Kumar for his appointment to the post of Member (Electrical) and it was decided between the accused that Rs five crore will be paid before the appointment and the rest will be paid after the job was done.

The first tranche of Rs 89.68 lakhs was allegedly given to Singla who was apprehended in Chandigarh while accepting the money, it has said.

The CBI had filed its chargesheet against 10 accused -- Kumar, Singla, Managing Director of Bangalore-based GG Tronics India Pvt Limited Manjunath Narain Rao, middlemen Garg and Sandeep Goyal, Rahul Yadav, Sameer Sandhir, Sushil Daga, CV Venugopal and MV Murali Krishan.

PTI