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Jul 04, 2013 at 06:58pm IST

Railway Board bribery case: CBI names Pawan Kumar Bansal as prosecution witness

New Delhi: In a breather for former railways minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, the Central Bureau of Investigation has named him prosecution witness in the Railway Board bribery case. This means he will not be named as an accused in the case.

Earlier in the day, a Delhi court on Thursday took cognisance of CBI's chargesheet filed against suspended Railway Board Member Mahesh Kumar, Vijay Singla, nephew of Bansal and eight others in the Rs 10 crore cash-for-post railway bribery case. Special CBI Judge Swarana Kanta Sharma took cognisance of the chargesheet and supplied the copies and documents annexed to the final report to the eight arrested accused.

The CBI had filed the chargesheet on May 2 against 10 accused - then Member (Staff) of Railway Board Mahesh 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.

All the accused have been named in the chargesheet for the offence of criminal conspiracy under IPC and relevant provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act. The CBI, in its chargesheet, has alleged that Singla had demanded Rs 10 crore from Kumar for his appointment as Member (Electrical). The agency said it was decided between the accused that Rs 5 crore will be paid before the appointment and the rest of the money will be paid after the job was done.

The first tranche of nearly Rs 90 lakh was given to Singla, who was apprehended while accepting the money, it said. Detailing Singla's role, the CBI said he had accepted a bribe of Rs 90 lakh on May 3, 2013 in his office. "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. The CBI alleged that Singla was the "main person" whose influence was to be used for the appointment of Kumar.

"There is also evidence in the form of his telephonic conversations... with Sandeep Goyal and Ajay Garg which establish that he intended to use his personal influence for the desired appointment of Kumar.

"Moreover, he 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 Kumar at his desired post of Member (Electrical)," the chargesheet said. Regarding 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 that 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. Describing Manjunath's role, the agency said, "He was the key person who arranged the whole conspiracy and also arranged the bribe amount".

The agency said in its chargesheet the sanction to prosecute Kumar under the Prevention of Corruption Act is awaited from the competent authority and would be submitted before the court after it is received. The CBI had earlier alleged that the deal was struck through Ajay and Sandeep whereas Kumar had entrusted Manjunath for arranging the money and getting it delivered to Singla and Goyal through hawala route.

(With additional information from PTI)