Monday, August 5, 2013

Singla knew of Kumar's selection: CBI

CHANDIGARH: The CBI chargesheet in the appointments scam in the Indian Railways has said that then railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal's nephew Vijay Singla knew about Mahesh Kumar's appointment as the new Railway Board (staff) within 72 hours of the "confidential" file being signed and despatched by Bansal to the cabinet committee on appointments. More, Singla told Kumar that he had been cleared for the post, says the chargesheet.

The details of this conversation and the confidential file have been recorded as evidence in CBI's 4010-page Railgate chargesheet submitted before the Patiala House court in Delhi.

This confidential proposal was jointly signed on April 18 this year by Bansal and then chairman of Railway Board, Vinay Mittal. Board joint secretary (confidential) P Rajasekhran, who wrote the file orders, told CBI in his witness statement that "the file was sent as confidential to appointment cabinet committee (ACC) through a special messenger in a sealed envelope and no outsider knew about the proposals other than chairman or the minister".

"The file as approved by the minister was given to me by Vinay Mittal and it was sent to Ajit Kumar Seth, Cabinet secretary, seeking approval of the ACC. The ACC concerning Railways consists of the railway minister, home minister and the PM," according to Rajasekhran's statement to CBI on May 25.

However, Singla on April 21, in a telephonic talk recorded by the CBI, told his aide and co-accused Ajay Garg to inform Kumar about his new posting. "Sab clear kara di thi...waise toh Friday nu..File te sign kara te si (I got everything cleared on Friday. The signatures were done)," Singla is learnt to have told Garg.

The new revelations raise doubts about Bansal's statements to CBI that his nephew or anyone, including his private secretary Rahul Bhandari (IAS), did not know about Kumar's promotion. In the same conversation, Singla assured Garg about the new designation for Kumar and said the source of this information was his uncle Bansal.

"Haan, staff (member) ki clean kara di hai file... Bhai jado aapa ministry gaya na Mama ji (Bansal) ne udhar hi gal kar li si...(We have got his file of Railway Board staff member cleared. When I went to ministry, Mama-ji confirmed there itself)," Singla is quoted as saying in the charge-sheet.

Rajasekhran also told CBI that he himself was not aware of the confidential proposal as his supervisor Mittal "had not mentioned anything to me regarding appointment of Mahesh Kumar".

"The normal procedure for movement of files in the Ministry of Railways is through computerized software called file transfer system (FTS). Each file is allotted FTS number and then each movement is entered into the software by the PS of the officer concerned. This file was marked 'confidential'. In case of confidential/secret/urgent letters, the same are sent through special messengers and acknowledgments are obtained in the peon book," he added in his statement to the CBI.


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