The hawala route was used for payment of bribe money in the railway graft scandal, a preliminary probe by CBI showed, as the agency asked senior railway officials to join its investigations.
As the scandal put railway minister PK Bansal in the dock after his nephew Vijay Singla was among the arrested in the alleged Rs. 10 crore railway bribery scandal, the agency shortlisted 500 phone calls for scrutiny from out of the 1,000 intercepted calls mainly among the four arrested accused.
CBI sources said that over 1,000 phone calls were intercepted during the two-month long surveillance on arrested member of railway board Mahesh Kumar and Singla. CBI has so far arrested eight acccused in the case.
The sources said these calls were among four key players in the scandal--Kumar, Singla and middlemen Manjunath and Sandeep Goyal.
The location of Singla during surveillance of CBI showed his frequent presence at railway minister's residence and Rail Bhawan, the sources claimed.
The sources said one important aspect which is under probe is how the bribe money was brought to Chandigarh from Bangalore.
According to preliminary investigation, the initial bribe money was not physically brought from Bangalore but through Hawala route and Manjunath allegedly used his contacts in Delhi to manage money and got it delivered to Singla in Chandigarh, they said.
The agency alleged that a part payment of Rs. 90 lakh was delivered to Singla afgter which it carried out searches at their premises and recovered the bribe amount.
Kumar was in between elevated from GM (West) to member (staff) in railway board, a post in which he was not very apparently interested.
He then allegedly asked Goyal to help him retain the additional charge of GM (West) for which the middleman demanded Rs. two crore as immediate payment.
The sources said a discussion on the transfer of the railway board member in specific terms could not be traced so far in the intercepts of direct phone calls between Singla and Kumar.
However, there were calls in which Singla is purported to be assuring Kumar that the work would be done.
Kumar was allegedly assured that he will get the lucrative post of Member (Electrical) in exchange for "pecuniary gratification."