The CBI has booked two retired members (mechanical) of the Railway Board — the highest decision-making body of Indian Railways — and a serving joint secretary rank officer in corruption case involving procurement of safety items for freight wagons.
The agency named as accused PN Garg and RK Rao — the two retired members (mechanical) — the then executive director (wagon) of Research, Design and Standard Organisation (RDSO) in Lucknow GC Budhlakoti, the then senior executive director, RDSO CM Dutta and three private companies — Avadh Rubber Limited, Aryan Exports and Parag Industries in its FIR in the case.
According to investigators, Indian Railway mainly uses two types of freight wagons — high speed bogies and low speed bogies. In these wagons, a safety item called Constant Contact Side Bearers (CCSB) is used.
These CCSB are generally of five types — Metal Bonded Rubber Pads, Vulcanite Pads, Spring Loaded Side Bearer Pads and two types of PU Pads.
The probe agency has alleged that one of the accused CM Dutta approved adoption of PU Pads for high speed bogies without adequate field trials and informed the Railway Board. He also allegedly approved adoption of Vulcanite Pads for regular use on low speed bogies.
According to sources, the Railway Board had raised a point that since extensive field trials of these safety items didn’t take place, their unsatisfactory performance can lead to crisis situation.
But PN Garg as member (mechanical) cleared Vulcanite Pads for universal usage and later despite reports of failure from railway zones, another accused RK Rao as member (mechanical) approved usage of PU Pads on the proposal/recommendation from GC Budhlakoti, alleged the investigators.
The premier investigation agency has also found out that all three accused companies had manufactured units in Dehradun and they had near identical address and correspondence with the railway authorities.
The CBI officials suspect it to be a case of cartelisation as well.