The cash-for-job bribery case in the Railway Ministry has cast its shadow over the other vacant posts in the Railways.
Since the arrest of Railway Board member Mahesh Kumar, the Ministry is finding it hard to fill the other key vacancies, as there has been allegations that all such jobs are up for sale.
Among the key posts lying vacant are Member (Traffic) in the Railway Board, General Managers of Central and Western Zones, South-East Central, and Metro rail, Kolkata. Even the reshuffle of the DRMs has not been done.
After Mahesh Kumar’s arrest, the post he was holding Member(Staff) too has also fallen vacant, while the chairman of the Railway Board, Vinay Mittal too will retire in June. The ministry had filled up two posts in the Railway Board along with Mahesh Kumar’s appointment.
Sources said as the process has been vitiated by the bribery allegations, the Railway Ministry may find it hard to fill these posts, until the entire process is made transparent.
Even the highest body of the railway officers has raised fingers at the way top appointments are handled in the ministry and has called for urgent reforms to undertake transfers and postings.
The Federation of Railways Officers Associations (FROA) had written to the Cabinet Secretariat asking that entire appointments process be brought under the Department of Personnel that also handle the posting of IAS officers to make the railways posting free of graft. “Even in the case of vacancies of Members in the Railway Board, proposals to the ACC are sent at the eleventh hour... A chairman, Railway Board actually kept a Members’ post vacant for entire duration of his chairmanship and held the dual charge!,” FROA in its letter had claimed.
After the current scam, a railway officer confided in private that the reputation of the body has taken a beating.
The FROA called a general body meeting of its officers and said it has faith in its officers and wants to dispel the notion that the Railways is steeped in corruption. “The officers are working with full dedication and unquestionable integrity,” the meeting said.
Meanwhile, sources said that Mahesh Kumar had met the Minister asking for the post of Member (Electrical), but the Minister had denied it. This was before his file for appointment as member staff was moved to the Minister on April 18.
Lens on Contacts
The ongoing CBI probe into the multi-crore cash-for-post scam in the Railways would try and find out who were the actual ‘contacts’ of the middlemen in the Union Railway Ministry as well as the office of Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal.
The probe agency had also confronted the two middlemen with each other in order to find out their links in the Railway Ministry.
Besides, the CBI is also questioning Bangalore-based businessman Manjunath, who is managing director of GG Electronics, a company that supplies electrical equipment to the Railways.
Especially, Manjunath’s role in facilitating the payment of Rs 90 lakh to Singla on behalf of Mahesh is being looked into.