New Delhi: Pawan Kumar Bansal was given a clean chit in the Rs 10 crore cash-for-post railway bribery case by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which on Thursday said that there was no evidence to prove that the former Railways Minister was involved in any illegal deal.
The investigative agency also said that no conversation happened between Bansal and his nephew Vijay Singla which can be linked to the case.
The CBI said that Bansal was not in the know of the deals being carried out between Singla and another accused Sandeep Goel. The agency added that the case is closed now and no investigation is pending.
The CBI, earlier in the day, also named Bansal as prosecution witness in the case and said that Singla was the "main person" whose influence was to be used to get a Railway Board Member appointed to a post seen as "lucrative".
The Bharatiya Janata Party, in a response to the development, said that how can an accused be made a witness. "He is an accused, he cannot be a witness. If he is being portrayed as the witness, then there is something wrong in the functioning of the system," BJP national general secretary Ananth Kumar said.
Bansal has been named as the 39th prosecution witness in the case in which Singla, the then Member (Staff) of Railway Board Mahesh Kumar and eight others have been named accused for the offence of criminal conspiracy under the IPC and relevant provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
"Moreover, he (Singla) was caught on the spot while accepting the bribe of Rs 90 lakh from his office premises at Chandigarh. He was the main person whose influence was to be used for the appointment of Mahesh Kumar at his desired post of Member (Electrical)," the CBI chargesheet said.
The CBI has alleged that Singla had demanded Rs 10 crore from Kumar for his appointment to the post of Member (Electrical) and it was decided between the accused that Rs 5 crore will be paid before the appointment and the rest will be paid after the job was done.
The first tranche of Rs 89.68 lakh was given to Singla who was apprehended while accepting the money, it said. The CBI had filed chargesheet on May 2 against 10 accused - Kumar, Singla, Managing Director of Bangalore-based GG Tronics India Pvt Limited Manjunath Narain Rao, middlemen Ajay Garg and Sandeep Goyal, Rahul Yadav, Samir Sandhir, Sushil Daga, CV Venugopal and MV Murali Krishan.
Barring Murali and Venugopal, the CBI has arrested the eight accused named in its chargesheet.
Special CBI Judge Swarana Kanta Sharma on Thursday took cognisance of the CBI's charge sheet and issued summons to Murali and Venugopal for July 11. The judge also extended till July 11 the judicial custody of the eight arrested accused.
After taking cognisance of the charge sheet, the court supplied the copies and documents annexed to the final report to the eight arrested accused. Detailing Singla's role, the CBI said he had accepted a bribe of nearly Rs 90 lakh on May 3, this year in his office at Chandigarh.
"He (Singla) is the Managing Director, M/s JTL Infra Ltd, Chandigarh and is the nephew (sister's son) of the then Minister of Railways Pawan Kumar Bansal. "There is evidence that he accepted bribe of Rs 90 lakh on May 3, 2013 in his office, which was the part payment of total bribe of Rs 10 crore for the alleged appointment of Kumar as Member (electrical)," the chargesheet said.
Referring to Mahesh Kumar, the agency said he himself took the "initiative for his desired appointment and visited Delhi and also visited the residence of the (then) Minister of Railways to discuss about his posting as Member (electrical) with Singla".
The agency said Kumar's "modus operandi" was to obtain illegal gratification from private parties with the assurance to promote them after becoming Member (Electrical). "The modus operandi adopted by Kumar was to obtain illegal gratification from the private parties involved in manufacturing of S and T items with the assurance to promote them after becoming Member (Electrical) and through them the same money was given to the nephew of the then Railways Minister.
"His act may be described as asking bribe to pay further bribe and therefore, constitutes a unique instance of 'bribe in bribe' i.e. using the bribe money for own purpose without receiving the same directly," the chargesheet said. It also said that Kumar had directed Manjunath to talk to Goyal for "retaining with him the charge of GM (Western Railway) and also giving him the charge of S and T."
"He (Kumar) himself advised Manjunath that the amount to be given as advance should be very little and the remaining amount should be given only after the work was done," it said, adding that on Kumar's direction, the alleged bribe amount was delivered to Singla.
(With additional information from PTI)