KOLKATA: Kolkata Port Trust chairman Raj Pal Singh Kahlon was today remanded to police custody following his arrest from a five-star hotel here for allegedly taking a Rs 20 lakh bribe from the representative of a container terminal firm.
Kolkata Police sleuths arrested Kahlon, a 1984-batch IAS officer of West Bengal cadre, alongwith D D Jagtap Dattaji, who allegedly paid Rs 20 lakh to the bureaucrat, from the hotel premises in the heart of the city last night.
"One businessman and Raj Pal Singh Kahlon, Chairman, Kolkata Port Trust, were intercepted and subsequently arrested for accepting illegal gratification of Rs 20 lakh. A case was filed in New Market Police Station," a senior official of the Kolkata police said.
City police sleuths had been keeping a watch on the IAS officer following a tip-off from a source and intercepted Kahlon and Dattaji following the alleged transaction.
They were produced at the Bankshall Court this afternoon and sent to police remand for eight days.
Judge Debabrata Sinha rejected the bail plea of Kahlon and Dattaji who was arrested for allegedly paying the bribe.
The judge noted that the investigation was at a nascent stage and said that the material collected by the investigating agency prima facie supported its case.
Both Kahlon and Dattaji were directed to be in police remand till March 17 and be again produced before the court on that date.
Kahlon's counsels, seeking bail, claimed that the question of any gratification did not arise as the money was not recovered from his possession. The counsel claimed that Kahlon had an unblemished career in the civil service for over three decades.
Before becoming an IAS officer of West Bengal cadre, Kahlon as an IPS officer of 1981 batch of Madhya Pradesh Cadre served that state from 1981 to 1984.
Opposing the bail prayer, chief public prosecutor Tamal Mukherjee submitted that the investigation was at a preliminary stage and that more documents were likely to be recovered in connection with the case.
He alleged that Kahlon had been given Rs 20 lakh as illegal gratification by Dattaji, who is an advisor/ director of Bharat Calcutta Containers Terminal Limited and a resident of Mumbai.
Mukherjee submitted before the court that Rs 11 lakh in cash was recovered from Dattaji's room in the hotel, apart from the Rs 20 lakh paid as gratification.
He prayed for 14 days' police custody of both the accused, who have been charged under section 120B of IPC (criminal conspiracy) and various provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
Kahlon has been serving as chairman of KoPT on deputation since January, 2013.
He has held the position of principal secretary in the departments of environment, transport, fisheries and fire services among others in the West Bengal government.