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Manish Pachouly, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, May 11, 2013
The CBI would not have unearthed the bribery racket that led to the sacking of railways minister Pawan Bansal on Friday had senior railway official Mahesh Kumar, arrested for giving a bribe to Bansal’s nephew Vijay Singla, not complained to the agency about corruption in railways.

It was only after Kumar’s information that the CBI started keeping a watch on railways, and thereafter stumbled upon Kumar’s own deep involvement in corrupt practices, including the fact that he was trying to become member (electrical) of the Railway Board through fraudulent means.

Tapping of phone calls further led the CBI to Singla, who was also arrested.

Sources in the CBI said Kumar had approached the Delhi CBI around four to five months ago when he was general manager, Western Railway, posted in Mumbai. “He had also written a letter to the CBI in this regard,” said a CBI official.

A senior railway official informing the CBI about corruption made the agency start keeping a watch, during which the agency came across a senior railway official who told them about Kumar indulging in corruption and making attempts to wrest a top post by paying money. “This came as a shock to the officials who started keeping Kumar’s phone under observation,” the official said. The phone calls exposed Kumar, and led the CBI to the racket.

Sources said that Kumar would now be booked in a second case pertaining to disproportionate assets (DA) in a few days. “This will take some time because we will have to ascertain which of his properties and valuables have been purchased with unaccounted-for money,” the official said. “As soon as we get enough evidence about DA, we will register another case,” the official added.