CBI today quizzed former Railway Minister P K Bansal for over six hours in connection with bribery scandal involving his nephew Vijay Singla and Railway Board member Mahesh Kumar.
The sources said Bansal was called at 11am to CBI guest house, located five kilometers from the agency's headquarters, to avoid the media which gathered outside its headquarters.
They said he was grilled till 6.45 in the evening with a break of about one and a half hours in between for lunch.
The sources said CBI wants to examine the role of Bansal, if any, in the alleged bribery scandal.
Bansal was asked a number of questions about his meetings with Kumar, his promotion as Board member and the additional charge given to him as General Manager (West).
Kumar had allegedly paid Rs 90 lakh to Bansal's nephew Singla for retaining the additional charge of General Manager (West) after his promotion as Railway Board Member (Staff).
This was allegedly part of Rs 10-crore deal Kumar struck with Singla for his elevation as Member (Electrical) in the Board.
The duo were taken into custody by CBI on May 3 when it nabbed Singla with Rs 90 lakh alleged bribe money.
The sources claimed the agency confronted Bansal with phone conversation intercepts, call detail records and grilled him on how Singla was able to assure Kumar about his elevation if he had not discussed the matter with him.
Bansal was confronted with the evidence collected by the probe agency about his meeting with the suspended Railway Board member in Mumbai on April 16 this year.
The Chandigarh MP denied having knowledge of having any deal struck between Singla and Kumar. He also claimed his innocence in the entire scandal and said he had not given any assurance to Kumar about his elevation as Board Member, the sources said.
He claimed his meetings with Kumar during his Mumbai visits were part of protocol as Kumar was the General Manager and it was imperitive for him as Railway Minister to meet him.
Bansal is reported to have met Kumar in Mumbai on April 16 and the agency claimed that during this meeting the appointment of Kumar, who was General Manager (West), was confirmed.
The sources said the agency might call Bansal again but that would be decided only after examining his replies in the light of evidence gathered by the agency so far.
Bansal, who had to resign as Railway Minister in the aftermath of the case involving his nephew who is alleged to have been operating from his official residence, has been maintaining that he had done no wrong in the appointment of Kumar as Member of the Railway Board, a post equivalent to the Secretary in government.
CBI has managed to secure all files pertaining to the appointment and also recorded the statement Bansal's Private Secretary Rahul Bhandari.
CBI sources said they want to understand "the role of authority which was supposed to change Kumar's discipline from Member (staff) to Member (Electrical) and allow him to continue with additional charge of GM (West)."
Lateral shifting of the Board members is done in the same manner as the appointment of a new member, which is finalised after vigilance clearance and the nod of the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet.
Over 1,000 phone calls were intercepted during the two-month surveillance on Mahesh Kumar and Singla. CBI has so far arrested nine persons in the case.