The CBI on Tuesday arrested one more person in connection with the `10-crore Railway bribery case, making it the ninth arrest so far.
The agency arrested Ajay Garg, an associate of middleman Sandeep Goyal, and produced him before CBI Special Judge Swarna Kanta Sharma in the afternoon.
The CBI told the court that Garg was an active participant in the conspiracy and was in constant touch with Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal’s nephew Vijay Singla and Goyal. Garg’s phone calls, intercepted by the agency, have revealed that he was working on behalf of Singla to get main accused Mahesh Kumar posted as Member (Electrical) in the Railway Board.
On Tuesday, the special CBI court also extended the remand of Singla, Goyal and GG Tronics India Pvt Ltd managing director N R Manjunath till Thursday.
The accused would be confronted with each other to unearth the entire conspiracy and the role of each player in particular. The CBI would question all the accused on the basis of over 1,000 phone conversations of the accused, which the CBI intercepted over a period of two months.
The agency would separately confront Kumar with Garg and Manjunath.
Manjunath, who runs a company that supplies electrical equipment to the Railways, had arranged for the bribe instalment of `90 lakh and it was paid to Singla in the presence of Goyal by two ‘courier boys’. So, the CBI would look into the ties between Kumar and Manjunath as well.
The CBI would also probe whether the bribe amount was meant for someone in the Ministry of Railways, but it is yet to collect and verify evidence in this regard. Phone call records of Singla and Goyal would be crucial to reveal their contacts in the ministry.
On Tuesday, the special court also remanded Manjunath’s associates Rahul Yadav, Sameer Sandhir and ‘courier boys’ Dharmender Kumar and Vivek Kumar in judicial custody.
CBI to Question Rly Board Members
The CBI is likely to interrogate the Railway board members in connection with the `10 crore bribe-for-job case, to ascertain whether main accused Mahesh Kumar has been favoured over his senior officers to the post of Member (Staff).
Mahesh, a former General Manager of the Western Railways, was appointed Member (Staff) of the Railway Board on May 2, though he wanted to be posted as Member (Electrical) for which he was ready to pay `10 crore to Vijay Singla, nephew of Railways Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal.
Initial CBI investigations reveal that Mahesh, currently under suspension following his arrest, might have been favoured. However, the agency has not come to a conclusion in this regard and will get copies of minutes of the meetings held by the “appointments committee” that took a decision in Mahesh’s elevation to the post.
‘Malaise Runs Deep’
The association of senior railway officers on Monday wrote to Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth saying the malaise ran deeper in the system.
The Federation of Railway Officers’ Association said the current scam has not come as a surprise.
“Senior posts of general managers are kept vacant for months, in some cases for even six months. Only when a sufficiently large pool of vacancies accumulates, proposals for filling them are sent to the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC).... Even in the case of vacancies of Member (Railway Board), proposals to the ACC are sent at the eleventh hour,” the association said in the letter.