The CBI on Thursday questioned Rahul Bhandari, personal secretary to Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, in connection with the `10 crore bribery case. Bansal too is likely to be quizzed in connection with the case.
Bhandari, a Punjab cadre IAS officer of 1997 batch, is believed to be close to the Railway Minister. He was reportedly asked questions regarding the various appointments made in the ministry over the past few months.
The investigating agency may also examine Vitul Kumar, OSD to Bansal. CBI sources said that they may question Bansal on the appointment of Mahesh Kumar as the member (Staff) Railway Board instead of other senior officers.
The probe agency may also quiz Bansal regarding his nephew Vijay Singla taking his name in phone conversations intercepted by the CBI. Apparently, Singla tried to exhibit his closeness to the Railway Minister to show that he was indeed capable of getting Mahesh appointed as Member (Electrical), Railway Board.
The CBI is currently going through intercepts of 1,000 phone calls they tapped before making the arrests. Singla has already been arrested by the CBI on May 3 after he accepted `90 lakh as part payment of bribe sent by Mahesh. Meanwhile, the investigating agency has arrested eight others in connection with the case, including Mahesh. Singla and four others -- Mahesh, alleged middleman Sandeep Goyal, businessman Ajay Garg and Bangalore-based Railway electrical equipment supplier Manjunath -- were remanded in judicial custody till May 20 on Thursday.
Manjunath had allegedly arranged `90 lakh bribe money which was paid to Singla as an instalment of a full payment of `10 crore. Mahesh, who was formerly holding the charge of the general manger, Western Railways, was promoted as the Member (Staff), Railway Board on May 2, but he wanted to be posted as Member (Electrical), hence he had approached Singla through Goyal.
Four other accused in the case -- ‘courier boys’ Dharmendra Kumar and Vivek Kumar, who delivered the bribe money to Singla in Chandigarh and businessmen Samir Sandhi and Rahul Yadav -- are presently in judicial custody.
BJP Plea to CBI
BJP leader Kirit Somaiya visited the office of CBI director Ranjit Sinha on Thursday evening and submitted a memorandum and some documents relating to Bansal’s family businesses. He demanded that the CBI take action in the bribery scam and the Coal scam.
Somaiya also sought a CBI probe into a web of companies run by Bansal and his relatives.
In his letter, he said that the turnover of Bansal family owned company Theon Pharmaceutical Ltd. jumped from zero to `152 crore in a couple of years.