Mahesh Kumar, suspended Railway Board member, who along with Union Railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal's nephew is an accused in the Rs. 10 crore bribery case, was on Monday sent to CBI's custody till May 9 by a Delhi court on the ground that his custodial interrogation is necessary to unravel the entire conspiracy.
Special CBI judge Swarana Kanta Sharma remanded Kumar, member (staff) Railway Board, in CBI's custody, saying he is the "main person" in the case and he is required to be confronted with other co-accused to whom he had assured that if he is posted as member (electrical) Railway Board, he will "abuse his official position" and grant them "undue and illegal favours".
"The police custody remand of accused Mahesh Kumar is all the more essential since as per the intercepted conversation and the disclosure statements recorded as yet, he remains the main person around whom the entire conspiracy revolves.
"Since accused Mahesh Kumar had allegedly assured the rest of the accused persons i.e. Narain Rao Manjunath, Rahul Yadav and Samir Sandhir that in case he is posted as member (electrical) Railway Board, he will abuse his official position and will grant them undue and illegal favours, he needs to be confronted with them to dig out the actual truth," the judge said.
The court said Kumar is required to be confronted with accused Sandeep Goyal, a businessman, and Bansal's nephew Vijay Singla as he was in regular touch with them and was trying to obtain posting of his liking through them only.
"In such circumstances, I grant police custody remand of accused Mahesh Kumar till May 9," the judge said.
CBI sought five days custody of Kumar saying he is the main accused in the case and his custodial interrogation was required to unearth the entire conspiracy.
It said that he is the one for whom the entire money arrangement was being made.
Besides Kumar and Singla, CBI has arrested six others for their alleged roles in the bribery case, in which a deal of Rs. 10 crore was finalised between them for fixing a top-level position for Kumar in the Railway Board.
Kumar was arrested from Mumbai and was brought here on transit remand. Kumar, who was GM (West) Railways, had been recently promoted as member (staff) in Railway Board and was allegedly lobbying hard to be posted as member (electrical).
During the arguments, CBI told the court that they have to arrest two more accused – Bansal's other nephew Ajay Garg and Sunil Daga, who have been named as accused in the FIR.
It said if Kumar would have managed to be posted as member (electrical), he would have extended favours to accused Manjunath, Yadav and Sandhir who are the official contractors to the Railway Board.
CBI said Kumar was not cooperating with the investigating agency and was giving evasive replies and also hiding crucial information which need to be collected by them.
Opposing the plea for custody, counsel for Kumar said he has already remained in CBI's custody during the transit remand for last two days and as the agency has already put him to sustained interrogation, no recovery needed to be effected.
The court, however, allowed the agency to quiz Kumar saying he is required to be confronted with other accused on vital points of the criminal conspiracy.
"After going through the rough intercepted conversation amongst the accused persons, I deem it appropriate that all the accused persons who have been arrested and have been already remanded to police custody as well as the present accused will need to be confronted with each other on vital points of the criminal conspiracy.
"It is stated that two other accused persons who have been named in the FIR are yet to be arrested and crucial information about them can also be given by the accused persons arrested so far," the judge said.
The court also said as the FIR in the case has been registered for the offence of criminal conspiracy also, without granting police custody and confronting the accused with each other, it would be "impossible" for the probe agency to "unearth the actual conspirators and other actual beneficiaries, if any".