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HindustanTimes Fri,18 Apr 2014

CBI stumbled onto scam in course of a different probe

Varghese K George and Rajesh Ahuja, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, May 12, 2013
First Published: 01:11 IST(12/5/2013) | Last Updated: 01:12 IST(12/5/2013)

It was a chance interception of murky dealings in the railway ministry that cost Pawan Kumar Bansal his job. As investigations inched closer to the then railway minister’s relatives, CBI director Ranjit Sinha was briefed about the whole operation.

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“While listening to the phone conversations with regard to a corruption matter of another ministry, investigators stumbled upon the talk about railway ministry posts on sale... Investigators hit the bull’s eye when phones of suspended member (staff) of the railway board Mahesh Kumar, his contractor friend NR Manjunath, Bansal’s nephew Vijay Singla and his associate Sandeep Goyal were tapped,” said an official source.

Investigators refused to share details about the corruption matter of another ministry through which dealings in the railway ministry came under probe “as the agency’s original surveillance operation is still on”.

Singla and Goyal were caught red-handed while counting the first installment of Rs. 90 lakh delivered on behalf of Mahesh Kumar for additional charges of general manager (western railway) and signal and telecommunication and the post of member (electrical) of the railway board, the apex decision making body of the railway minister.

Investigators say Pawan Kumar Bansal’s private secretary Rahul Bhandari had more than one conversation with Singla and his associate Goyal. But he was very careful in those conversations.

“Though Bhandari discussed money in the conversations he was not explicit. We are yet to take a call on his arrest,” said a source.

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