Former railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal has testified against nephew Vijay Singla by identifying his voice in phone calls that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) recorded in the cash-for-lucrative postings scam, a source told HT.
"It was one of the reasons for making him a witness in the case. It was also a strategic move as we don't expect Bansal turning hostile during the trial," said a CBI official, requesting anonymity.
During his questioning on June 4, Bansal was confronted with call recordings."Singla's voice sample has been sent for a forensic examination, but with Bansal confirming his (Singla's) voice, the prosecution's case became stronger. The forensic report will corroborate Bansal's testimony," the official said.
The CBI has alleged that Railway Board member (staff) Mahesh Kumar wanted to become a member (electrical). To get the post, he struck a deal of Rs. 10 crore with Singla and his associates. But the post of member (electrical) was to get vacant in two months. Therefore, till then, Mahesh Kumar bargained for additional charges of general manager (western railway) and signal and telecommunications and agreed to pay Rs. 2 crore upfront for them.
The CBI, listening to Kumar's conversations with Singla and his associates, intercepted the first instalment of Rs. 90 lakh of the total bribe money at Singla's office in Chandigarh on May 3. After the scandal, Bansal was forced to resign on May 10.
Investigators say three facts went in Bansal's favour when they deliberated his role before filing the chargesheet in the case against Singla, Kumar and other accused. One, no rules were violated when Kumar was promoted as member (staff); two, Singla and his associates didn't even know about Kumar's appointment as member (staff) when it was about to take place; and third, though there were many meetings of Bansal with Kumar, but not one of them happened by bypassing the proper channel.
"For every meeting with Bansal, Kumar went through then railway board chairman Vinay Mittal, who corroborated it in his statement to the CBI," said the official.