Former railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, who deposed on Monday as a CBI witness in the cash-for-post scam in which his nephew Vijay Singla is an accused, told the court that he had never spoken to Singla about the impugned appointment of Railway Board member Mahesh Kumar.
Bansal, former member of Parliament (MP) from Chandigarh, who had appeared before special judge (CBI) Swarana Kanta Sharma after fresh summons were issued by the court on September 16, said Singla had visited him thrice during his tenure. However, he added that they had never spoken about Kumar’s appointment as member (electrical.)
His statement was partially recorded, and the remainder was deferred because certain clarifications were needed from the investigating officer.
Bansal deposed before the court that Kumar had been due for a promotion, and several posts in the board, such as member (staff), member (mechanical) and member (traffic), had become vacant at that time. He was promoted because he had seniority and was eligible for the same, the former minister added.
He also said that Kumar had met him at his office in the first week of April 2013 to put forward his case for promotion as member (electrical.) “I just heard him then. When I discussed briefly the matter with the chairman, Railway Board, that was the time when I learnt that the post of member (electrical) was to fall vacant only in September 2014,” he deposed before the court.
He also admitted to having met the accused on April 16 and 17 last year, while in Mumbai for a function. However, they did not speak about Kumar’s appointment to the post of member (electrical), he added.
“As stated earlier, the chairman, Railway Board, had brought the proposal of appointment as member (staff) on April 18, 2013, to me personally and I had approved it,” he said, adding that once he had sent the accused’s file for appointment as member (staff), it was “the end of it” as far as he was concerned.
“The attention of the witness is drawn to the file... Filling of the post of member (staff), Railway Board, and after going through the same, he states that the said file was brought to him by the chairman, Railway Board, Vinay Mittal himself on April 18, 2013. He signed it and approved the proposal and returned it to Vinay Mittal... there and then,” the court noted while referring to Bansal’s statement.
The court also recorded the statement of another prosecution witness, KA Sivadas, under secretary, cabinet secretariat, Rashtrapati Bhavan.
The court had on March 11 this year framed charges of corruption and conspiracy against Singla, Kumar, managing director of Bangalore-based GG Tronics India Pvt Limited NR Manjunath, alleged middlemen Ajay Garg and Sandeep Goyal, and co-accused Rahul Yadav, Sameer Sandhir, Sushil Daga, CV Venugopal and MV Murali Krishan. Singla was chargesheeted by the CBI for allegedly demanding Rs 10 crore from Kumar for his appointment as member (electrical).
Bansal had resigned as railway minister in May last year after the scam hit the headlines.