The Enforcement Directorate has issued orders for seizure of cash amounting to over Rs 47 lakh which was recovered allegedly during a CBI raid on a top NHAI official few years back.
The official in question, Chief General Manager S K Nirmal, was arrested by the CBI in 2010 along with three others in a corruption case for allegedly favouring a private construction firm in allocation of contracts at the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).
The ED has declared a total cash of Rs 47.91 lakhs as "proceeds of crime of money laundering" after it registered a separate case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) later in the same year taking cognisance of the CBI FIR.
According to the order, while Rs 46.70 lakh was seized during CBI searches from Nirmal's house another Rs 1.21 lakh was seized from his office.
The ED will soon inform a competent court in this regard as it has communicated to the CBI about the order, under whose legal custody the money has been lying.
An attachment action under the PMLA is aimed to deprive the accused of his or her ill-gotten wealth. Such an order can be challenged at the competent authority within a period of 180 days.
Besides Nirmal, NHAI General Manager Nitin Jain and two private persons were arrested in the case after the CBI claimed to have made huge recoveries from their premises in Delhi and Jaipur, including Rs 1.86 crore from the residence and bank locker of Jain.
The CBI had registered a case against the four for allegedly entering into a criminal conspiracy and engaging in corrupt practices in the award of contract.
The modus operandi of NHAI officials was to eliminate all potential contenders on one pretext or the other and favour the accused company ensuring huge financial gains to it, the CBI had said.
The CBI had alleged that NHAI officials had managed to give the contracts for projects in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh after entering into a criminal conspiracy with the managing director of a private firm.
The work included development, operation or maintenance of four-laning of Nagpur-Betul Section of NH-69 in Maharashtra under National Highways Development Project Phase-IV on Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Transfer basis through public-private partnership.
NHAI had received 13 offers for the project out of which four were rejected by the officials allegedly on frivolous grounds at the qualification stage.
Four other companies were also eliminated from the next stage of bidding by making stipulations pertaining to submission of original documents in gross violation of the conditions of the tender, the agency had alleged.
It has also been alleged by the CBI that the officers of NHAI gave key confidential, strategic and vital information to the company during the process of tender which in turn helped it gain greater financial benefits.