New Delhi: Former railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal had allegedly met former Railway Board Member Staff Mahesh Kumar and assured him of making him Member Electrical in the Railway Board. Crucial telephonic conversations accessed by CNN-IBN show two middlemen talking about Bansal and Kumar in connection with the cash-for-railway-posts scandal.
The conversations also expose how middlemen had devised a foolproof plan to convert black money to white. Bansal's name crops up several times between middlemen Rahul Yadav and Manjunath.
A bribe of Rs 10 crore was allegedly given to Bansal's nephew Vijay Singla who promised a lucrative senior position for a top railway official Mahesh Kumar on his request. Ten people were arrested as the plan came to light.
The big casualty of it all was Bansal, who was forced to resign for the actions of his nephew. But the question is whether he did not really know.
CNN-IBN has exclusively accessed another set of phone transcripts. During a conversation between two accused Manjunath - the man allegedly speaking on behalf of Mahesh Kumar and Rahul Yadav - a close associate of Manjunath who helped raise funds to pay the bribe, there's a lot of talk about how Bansal is in the know of the deal to make Mahesh Kumar Member Electrical.
Rahul Yadav: But how will we make him, because he will not become Member Electrical na? He will or not?
Manjunath: No no, he will become Member Electrical. The Minister has already told it, you know, the minister talks with Mahesh Kumar directly.
Rahul Yadav: No, that is what, after Member Staff, he will become Member Electrical.
Manjunath: Yes, yes, yes, yes, June 15 okay.
Rahul Yadav: Okay June 15?
Manjunath: Yes, the Minister only Mr Bansal, straight away Bansal, okay? PK Bansal spoke to Mahesh Kumar and told him by June 15, I will make you Member Electrical, don't worry, that's all.
Rahul Yadav is not convinced, but Manjunath continues to maintain his stand that the assurance of the position has come right from the very top.
Rahul Yadav: There is no loophole na sir?
Manjunath: No no, see I have met Mahesh Kumar himself...to check it out.
Rahul Yadav: Yeah, so okay?
Manjunath: And he has also confirmed, yes the Minister spoke to him, directly, okay, now there is no ambiguity.
Now with the deal struck, the middlemen are heard figuring out how to arrange the cash to pay the bribe.
Manjunath: After June 15 only, we will be giving balance amount okay?
Rahul Yadav: Okay.
Manjunath: For that Rs 2 crore is coming from Mumbai, you know?
Rahul Yadav: Haan.
Manjunath: It is arranged boss, see tomorrow Rs 1 crore only I am doing, out of that Murli is giving 25, actually. Okay and I was planning to take 25 from this Manoj, okay 50 from my side, okay that was planned.
The worry of handling so much cash is not a problem as in their discussions, the conspiracy runs so deep that they have already figured out how to subvert the black money to evade any suspicion.
Rahul Yadav: Last time also, when some money was required in Delhi from GG Tronics, I asked Venu to transfer the money to one of Samir's jeweller friends okay?
Rahul Yadav: They have some expenses there, but the entry is clear, you know, they take 1 per cent VAT and 0.5 per cent expenses, total 1.5 per cent is spent, but the entry is clear and closed, he will give up cash immediately and he will give us a bill of gold also, okay?
Rahul Yadav: That (bill) you can always keep and whenever you want, you can sell that back to him, whenever you want your money back na, white money back, so you can sell the same go back to him.
The plan is very simple and involves investing the cash received in gold, getting a receipt and then it all gets converted to white. The transcripts accessed by CNN-IBN clearly show how meticulous their planning was - also giving rise to speculation that they weren't new to these dealings. It also raises questions on whether or not Bansal had any role in the cash for postings scam.