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HindustanTimes Wed,16 Apr 2014

Assets probe against Mahesh Kumar likely

Rajesh Ahuja, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, May 10, 2013
First Published: 00:06 IST(10/5/2013) | Last Updated: 00:08 IST(10/5/2013)

The CBI is planning to file a disproportionate asset case against senior railway ministry official Mahesh Kumar who was arrested on the charges of bribing the nephew of railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal allegedly to get lucrative postings.

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Besides, Mahesh Kumar's interactions with railway minister Pawan Kumar, particularly during the railway minister's official trip to Mumbai on April 15 are also under investigations.

Mahesh Kumar was posted as general manager (western railway) at that time and a few days later he was elevated as member (staff) of the railway board, a post he didn't like.

Kumar wanted to become member (electrical) of the railway board, the apex decision making body of the railway ministry. That was getting vacant in two months time. In the meantime, Kumar wanted additional charges of general manager (western railway) and signal and telecommunication.

"Mahesh Kumar's assets seem to be far more than his known sources of income. We are verifying them. The agency is likely to file a disproportionate asset case against Mahesh Kumar after the verification process is over," said an investigator.

According to sources, general managers have authority to give contracts worth Rs. 200 crore. It is being suspected that Mahesh wanted to dispense favours to his crony contractors.

All contracts awarded by Mahesh Kumar as general manager or at other postings even during the tenure of previous ministers like Dinesh Trivedi or Mamta Banjeree are also under scanner.

The CBI on Thursday continued to grill the railway minister's private secretary Rahul Bhandari.

"He was very nervous when called for questioning. Hewas mostly asked about transfers and postings during Bansal's tenure as the railway minister," said a source.

Bansal's private secretary Rahul Bhandari comes from a family of IAS officers.

His wife Rakhi is an IAS officer. Rakhi's sister Rashi also married to an IAS officer of 1995 batch, Ashutosh Jindal. One more brother-in-law, Subodh Agarwal from Rajasthan cadre, is an IAS officer of 1988 batch. Rakhi Bhandari's brother Akshat Gupta is also an IAS officer of Uttarakhand cadre.

Akshat's wife Ridhim Agarwal is an IPS officer of Uttarakhand cadre.  Bhandari's father-in-law was an IRS officer.

After Bhandari's questioning investigators may call Bansal's Officer on Special Duty (OSD) Vitul Kumar, a 1993 batch IPS officer of Uttar Pradesh cadre, to seek some clarification in the case. Kumar is the son-in-law of Bansal's sister.

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