Net widens in Railgate, CBI tracks dirty money trail across country
The CBI has tracked dirty money trail across the country in a bribe transaction involving nephew of incumbent Railways Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, who quoted a price of Rs 10 crore for appointing a senior railway official to the post of Railways Board Member (Electrical).
The CBI on Friday arrested Vijay Singla, nephew of Bansal, on charges of demanding Rs 10 crore for appointing Mahesh Kumar, the then general manager of the Western Railways for appointing him as Railways Board member (Electrical). He was appointed as the Railways Board Member (Staff) on May 2. However, Mahesh was eyeing the post of Member (Electrical) which issues tenders running into hundreds of crores of rupees.
Following this, Mahesh got in touch with Sandeep Goyal, a resident of Panchkula, and Ajay Garg of Chandigarh, who were acting as “middlemen” between Singla and him, CBI sources said.
Even as negotiations over the amount of money were going on between Singla an Goyal, the former requested the latter that until he was appointed as member (electrical), he should be given the additional charge of general manager of the Western Railways and Signal and Telecommunication.
Goyal demanded `2 crore from Mahesh immediately, on condition that the remaining amount, `8 crore, should be paid later.
Consequently, Mahesh approached Narayan Rao Manjunath for the bribe amount, who is managing director of G G Tronics India Private Limited, a company which supplies goods and renders services to the Railways as well as other businessmen and contractors dealing with the Railways.
However, Manjunath could only manage `90 lakh that was to be paid to Goyal on Friday.
On the day, the CBI laid a trap and nabbed Goyal and Garg accepting `90 lakh from two courier boys of a Delhi-based friend of Manjunath, Rahul Singh.
Later, the CBI carried out searches on Mahesh’s residence in Mumbai and Delhi, Singla, Goyal and Garg in Chandigarh, Panchkula, Bangalore, and also on the premises of Manjunath’s friend Rahul Yadav in Delhi.
The CBI has so far arrested Mahesh Kumar, Vijay Singla, Narayan Rao Manjunath, Sandeep Goyal and two courier boys Dharamendra Kumar and Vivek Kumar in connection with the case.
The investigating agency produced Singla, Goyal, Dharamendra and Vivek in a Delhi court on Saturday, which remanded them in CBI custody.
The CBI obtained “transit remand of Mahesh and Manjunath from a Mumbai court and Bangalore court respectively.
The others named in the FIR are Garg, Rahul Yadav, Samir Sandhir, from New Delhi, and Sushil Daga of Faridabad, whose roles in the case are still under CBI study.
The accused have been booked on charges of criminal conspiracy and relevant sections of Prevention of Corruption Act - 1988.
CBI to Question
The Central Bureau of Investigation may either seek clarification from Bansal or send him a questionnaire to be filled regarding the involvement of his nephew Vijay Singla in the `10 crore graft case, of which the investigating agency is now interrogating Singla, Mahesh, middlemen Goyal and other accused.
Sources said the agency has been wiretapping phones of Mahesh, Singla and others linked with the case over the past three months.
It is learnt that the CBI got the information about the people involved in the case after tracking the conversations of Goyal, Singla and Mahesh.
Later, the agency traced the involvement of Manjunath and his Delhi-based friend who was accused of arranging the courier boys.
Until the CBI nabbed Mahesh Kumar on Friday, he had an unblemished record in the Railways. Kumar, a Indian Railway Service of Signal Engineers (IRRSE) officer of 1975 batch, graduated in electronics and communication engineering in 1975 from University of Roorkee, which is now IIT Roorkee.
He shot to fame when he registered a Guinness World Record for commissioning the “Largest Route Relay Interlocking” at Old Delhi Railway Station in shortest possible time of 36 hours -- the only officer from Indian Railways to have achieved this.
His profile as stated by the Railways Ministry states that he has many innovations to his credit such as commissioning major doubling projects within 3-4 hours block, Modified Automatic Signaling for safe train operation during fog, termed innovation of the year 2010-11, commissioning Passenger Reservation System through satellite, commissioning first integrated Railways Call Centre using ‘139’, and commissioning major yard remodeling within short blocks.
As General Manager, Western Railway, Shri Kumar has to his credit the completion of mammoth project of conversion of electric traction from 1500 Volts DC to 25000 Volts AC in the Churchgate-Virar section of Mumbai Division, the busiest section with dense suburban as well as long distance traffic without affecting the running of trains.