Tuesday, July 2, 2013

CBI may not file charges today


With the railway ministry delaying granting of permission to prosecute suspended Railway Board member Mahesh Kumar in the railway bribery scandal, it is likely that the CBI may not file the chargesheet in the case within the stipulated time of July 2. The scandal cost Congress MP Pawan Kumar Bansal his job as railway minister.

According to sources, in the absence of the chargesheet within the mandatory period of 60 days from the day of the arrest, all 10 accused, including Vijay Singla, nephew of the former railway minister, will automatically be granted bail. Singla was arrested by the CBI in Chandigarh on May 3 for allegedly accepting `90 lakh in cash from Narayan Rao Manjunath, the conduit of Kumar, promoted as member (staff) in the Railway Board and trying to get a lucrative position as member (electrical).
The agency had approached the Railway Ministry for granting sanction for prosecution against Kumar, a 1975 batch of Indian Railway Service of Signal Engineers (IRSSE), which was still awaited, sources said.
Talking to reporters, CBI director Ranjit Sinha on Monday said, “We will try to file the chargesheet within the stipulated period of time. Our probe is still on.” During the investigations so far, the CBI has questioned Mr Bansal and arrested as many as 10 people, including a suspended Railway Board member.
Mr Bansal may not be named as accused in the first chargesheet, which will be filed by the CBI immediately after getting prosecution sanction against Kumar. “The agency is likely to keep open the probe into the alleged role of Bansal and if it manages to gather evidence linking him with the money trail, a supplementary chargesheet would be filed in the case,” sources said. During interrogation, Kumar told CBI sleuths that he paid `90 lakh as the initial amount of bribe only after Singla assured that Mr Bansal has his consent to give him the additional charge of GM (Western Railways) in addition to member, Railway Board.
Mr Bansal had to resign from the Union Cabinet in the aftermath of the case involving his nephew, who is alleged to have been operating from his official residence.

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