Closing its probe into the Rs. 10-crore cash-for-posting scandal, the CBI has given a clean chit to former railway minister PK Bansal but named his nephew and a suspended senior railways officer as accused in the case that forced the Congress leader to quit the cabinet.
Submitting its charge sheet before the special CBI judge Swarna Kanta Sharma, the agency charged suspended railway board member Mahesh Kumar and businessman Vijay Singla, who is Bansal's nephew, and eight others with bribery and criminal conspiracy.
"We have chargesheeted 10 accused... The charge sheet does not name former railway minister PK Bansal and CBI's probe in the trap case is concluded," CBI spokesperson Dharini Mishra said. Arrest of people while exchanging bribe money is trap in agency's parlance.
The CBI had examined Bansal amid allegations that Singla had operated from his official residence and used the telephones there to ascertain the officer/authority which could change Kumar's job profile.
The agency, said a source, couldn't find enough evidence to link Bansal to his nephew's activities. Singla is accused of striking a Rs. 10-crore deal with Kumar who was then a railway board member (staff) but wanted to be a member (electrical) and also wanted to be general manager, western railway. The positions were seen as "lucrative".
Singla was arrested by the CBI sleuths in Chandigarh on May 3 after accepting Rs. 90 lakh on behalf of Kumar towards the first installment of Rs. 2 crore.
Kumar was arrested later in the day from the Mumbai airport. Bansal represents Chandigarh in the Lok Sabha.
"The bribe of Rs. 10 crore was to be delivered to a Chandigarh-based accused in installments -- Rs. 2 crore immediately, Rs. 3 crore after Mahesh Kumar's appointment as member (electrical) and Rs. 5 crore after five or six months," said a CBI source.
Those named in the charge sheet have been accused of being directly involved in the exchange of bribe and the conspiracy preceding it. The agency relied on 1,000 telephonic intercepts to back the claim, a CBI source said.