BHUBANESWAR: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Saturday arrested the director of a leading stevedoring firm of the country in connection with an alleged bribery scandal.
Charchit Mishra, Director, Orissa Stevedores Limited (OSL) and industrialist Mahimananda Mishra's son was taken into custody after an interrogation that lasted hours.
CBI also arrested real-estate developer Sisir Kumar Das in this connection.
The central agency has registered a case under Section 120B of the Indian Penal Code and Sections 7, 8, 9, 10 and 12 of Prevention of Corruption Act.
According to the complaint, Chief Mechanical Engineer of Paradip Port Trust Saroj Kumar Das was frequently demanding bribes through his associate Sumanta Rout to extend benefits to private stakeholders engaged in services and activities in Paradip Port.
CBI investigation revealed that Rout was in close contact with Sankha Subhra Mitra, manager of port operations of KCT Group. Rout was also in contact with KCT Group's Debapriya Mohanty. Mitra was reportedly acting as a middleman for other cargo companies.
The staff of Cuttack-based OSL had damaged the conveyor belt in Paradip Port during the unloading of cargo. The cost of repair and replacement of the conveyor belt would have cost crores to OSL.
However, the repair work of the conveyor belt was carried out with the port’s resources which resulted in huge financial benefit to the stevedores firm. The central agency said Das and Rout in connivance with director of OSL executed this.
Subsequently, Das demanded a Rs 60 lakh bribe through Rout from OSL for extending the financial benefits. Rout allegedly collected Rs 25 lakh from the private firm's officials in Cuttack and handed over Rs 10 lakh to the real-estate developer in Bhubaneswar who had booked a property with Das.
CBI has registered a case in this regard against chief mechanical engineer Das, Rout, Mitra, Mishra, DGM (operations) of Stevedores Surya Narayan Sahoo and Debapriya Mohanty of KCT Group.
The agency has also booked Orissa Stevedores Limited and other unknown individuals in connection with the case. The central agency had arrested Das, Rout, Mitra and Sahoo on Friday.
Managing director of OSL Mahimananda Mishra was also questioned by the CBI officers on Friday in connection with the bribery scandal. Earlier, he was arrested from Thailand in 2016 for his alleged involvement in the murder of an employee of a rival stevedoring company. He is now out on bail.