BHUBANESWAR: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday arrested the chief mechanical engineer of Paradip Port Trust (PPT) and three others, including a senior executive of a stevedoring firm, in an alleged bribery scandal.
The arrested include the PPT engineer Saroj Kumar Das, his associate Sumanta Rout, manager, port operations of Kolkata-based KCT Group Sankha Subhra Mitra and DGM (operations) of Odisha Stevedores Limited (OSL) Surya Narayan Sahoo. Das has been accused of frequently demanding and receiving bribes for extending benefits to private parties engaged in services and activities in at the port. Rout acted as the middleman to collect the bribe money.
Rout had also roped in manager, port operations, of Kolkata-based KCT Group Sankha Subhra Mitra for such activities. Mitra was reportedly acting as a middleman for other cargo companies. A CBI spokesperson said, the case related to serious financial irregularities in repair and replacement of a conveyor belt of PPT.
The Cuttack-based OSL damaged a conveyor belt the during unloading of cargo. However, even as it was to be repaired or replaced by OSL, the entire cost which ran into crores was borne by the port itself. This resulted in huge financial benefit to OSL.
The Central agency said Das and Rout in connivance with director of OSL Charchit Mishra pulled it off. For the benefits accorded to OSL, Das demanded Rs 60 lakh bribe for extending the financial benefits. His aide Rout allegedly collected Rs 25 lakh from the firm’s officials in Cuttack and handed over Rs 10 lakh to a real estate developer in Bhubaneswar, with whom Das had booked a property.
The CBI first nabbed Rout in Paradip and recovered Rs 5 lakh of the bribe amount. The agency later recovered Rs 18.30 lakh more from him. During searches at the residence of Das, CBI recovered Rs 20.25 lakh in cash, jewellery, papers related to investments and other incriminating documents from the spot.
The CBI officers conducted searches at the property of all the accused at 15 locations including Paradip, Cuttack, Jagatsinghpur and Bhubaneswar. They seized Rs 41 lakh from the premises of OSL director Mishra.
The agency has registered a case in this regard against Das, Rout, Mitra, Mishra, Sahoo and Debapriya Mohanty of KCT Group. Sources said CBI officials questioned the managing director of OSL Mahimananda Mishra on Friday in the connection.