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May 17, 2013 at 11:48pm IST

CBI officer investigating coal scam caught taking bribe of Rs 15 lakh

New Delhi: A Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) official, who is also the Chief Investigating Officer probing the coal block allocation scam, was caught taking a bribe of Rs 15 lakh on Friday. The CBI Internal Intelligence Unit nabbed Vivek Dutt in an operation that was personally supervised by the agency's director Ranjit Sinha.

However, CBI sources said the bribe is not related to the coal scam. Rs 15 lakh cash has been recovered from Dutt.

The CBI is set to inform the Supreme Court about the case. The agency cannot change the current Investigating Officer as per the direction of an SC order.

"We had information about such a dealing and we continiued to maintain surveillance on them. After monitoring them for pretty long, today they were arrested for taking the bribe", CBI Director Ranjit Sinha said. He said CBI would inform the Supreme Court soon about the developments since the apex court had ruled that no official associated with the probe into the scam will be transferred without informing it.

CBI sources said the agency got a tip-off that Dutt, who was posted in its Economic Offences Wing, had allegedly struck a deal to settle a land dispute in return for illegal gratification. They said Dutt had allegedly used his influence with Delhi Police officials to withdraw a petition from an ongoing land dispute case, which had benefitted the businessman.

The vigilance officials got the tip off that the alleged deal would materialise on Friday evening and informed the CBI Director about it who gave the go-ahead. The agency's internal vigilance then arrested Inspector Rajesh while receiving the bribe on behalf of SP Vivek Dutt when the money was changing hands. Later, Dutt was also taken into custody.

The operation was carried out on a day when senior officials of CBI from across the country had congregated at the agency headquarters for their quarterly zonal meeting. "My aim while taking over as CBI Director was to ensure zero tolerance of corruption", Sinha said.

(With Additional Inputs From PTI)

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