Bribery case: 2 more NFR officials in CBI net, Rs 2.39 cr recovered

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HT Bureau

GUWAHATI, Jan 18: Two more senior officials of Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) were arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in connection with Rs 1 crore bribery scam on Monday, an official release here said.

The CBI has arrested chief administrative officer (CAO) of NFR (Construction) Mahender Singh Chauhan and two others for allegedly seeking Rs 1 crore from a Guwahati-based firm ABCI Infrastructures Private Limited for granting favours in awarding contracts to it.

The CBI has arrested deputy chief engineer Hem Chand Borah and assistant executive engineer Laxmi Kant Verma posted in Agartala after it nabbed Chauhan on Sunday from Maligaon on Sunday.

The central investigation agency is also tracking the ‘hawala’ operator who had helped Pawan Baid, a director of ABCI Infrastructures, to transfer the bribe amount of Rs 1 crore in cash to Delhi on January 16, from where Baid’s employee Bhupendra Rawat allegedly ferried it to Dehradun to deliver it to a relative of Chauhan on Sunday.

Besides Chauhan, the CBI had already arrested his son-in-law Indra Singh and Rawat from Dehradun, where the bribe amount was allegedly being delivered, the release further said.

Along with the five arrested accused, the CBI has booked the company and its director Baid for criminal conspiracy and bribery under the relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Prevention of Corruption Act, the release also said.

All the accused were produced before competent courts in Uttarakhand, Tripura and Assam on Monday, it said.

Searches were conducted at 26 locations including at Delhi, Uttarakhand, Assam, Tripura and West Bengal.

It has been alleged that the accused were abusing their official position for obtaining illegal gratification. The director of private company was in contact with CAO in various ongoing projects in Northeast.

On his demand, the director through his employee got delivered bribe of Rs. 1 crore to the relative of CAO at his residence in Dehradun. The accused allegedly were exchanging bribe money when they were caught, the release said.

During searches, the CBI seized Rs 18.5 lakh and Rs 6.5 lakh in cash from the premises of Borah and Verma respectively, taking the total amount of cash seized so far in the case to Rs 2.39 crore.

“This includes an alleged bribe of Rs one crore which exchanged hands yesterday…(it) is stated to be one of the biggest bribe money trapped. In addition, Rs 60 lakh was recovered from Dehradun and Rs 54 lakh from Guwahati premises of CAO yesterday. Besides this, there has been recovery of jewellery and documents related to property from these locations,” a CBI statement here said.

Chauhan (58) had demanded the bribe to show favours to ABCI Infrastructures Private Limited in awarding contracts for various projects in the NFR, the statement claimed.

“The contractors were allegedly being facilitated in awarding the contracts, processing of subsequent bills, release of payments etc. by the public functionaries in lieu of illegal gratifications,” it said.

After getting inputs, the CBI laid a trap, deploying its teams at various locations in Uttarakhand and Assam.

One of the teams swooped in on the accused after the bribe was delivered and the accused were taken into custody. After questioning and searches, the officer was also arrested.

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