iconimg Thursday, July 02, 2015

Rajesh Ahuja and Srinand Jha, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, March 19, 2014
The CBI has decided to close its preliminary enquiry (PE) against top railway official Kulbhushan facing multiple allegations of corrupt practices. 

Kulbhushan holds the rank of secretary to the government and is posted as member (electrical) of the railway board, the top decision making body of the railways.
“The decision has been taken to close the PE,” said a CBI official requesting anonymity.

Kulbhushan could not be contacted despite phone calls and messages from HT.

Despite being the senior-most member, Kulbhushan lost out in the race to be the chairman of the railway board, mainly because of the CBI probe against him, say railway ministry sources.

Arunendra Kumar was appointed as the chairman in October last year.

The PE against Kulbhushan was an off-shoot of the CBI corruption case against former railway board member (staff) Mahesh Kumar who charged with bribing Vijay Singla, nephew of former railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, to get the ‘so-called’ lucrative post of member (electrical) which was held by Kulbhushan. 

According to CBI sources, during the probe against Mahesh Kumar and Singla, around half a dozen allegations surfaced wherein the needle of suspicion pointed towards Kulbhushan. The allegations included holding benami properties to favouring railway contractors and builders. To get to the crux of matter, the CBI in June last year registered a PE and questioned Kulbhushan as well.

But after probing him for more than nine months, the agency has decided to close the PE as the allegations could not be verified.

The CBI and ministry of railways were also locked in a tussle over the move to include Kulbhushan in a black list of officials whose integrity was under cloud due to the pending PE against him. The CBI and railways could not come out with an ‘agreed list’ of officials due to the controversy over indecision to put Kulbhushan in the list.