The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Monday quizzed two BJP ministers in the Parkash Singh Badal government whose names have figured in a Rs 1.5-crore graft case.
Ending speculation on whether he would appear before the central investigating agency on Monday, industries minister Manoranjan Kalia spent an hour with CBI officers.
While Kalia was critical of the investigating agency, hinting that it was acting at the behest of the Congress-led central government, technical education minister Swarna Ram, who was questioned for around 90 minutes, was all praise for the CBI.
A combative Kalia, who emerged from the CBI office flashing a smile and waving his hand to waiting supporters, said that officials of the investigating agency “should feel free to question me again if they have an iota of doubt about me”.
He said the CBI questioning revolved around the transcript of the recorded verbal conversation between the middleman Devinder Singh and Manpreet Singh, whose complaint to the CBI triggered the probe.
In the recording, Devinder mentions Kalia’s name several times, saying that the minister was demanding R1.5 crore to close a complaint.
Kalia said the CBI should have been more professional in its investigation.
“The CBI is the national investigating agency known internationally, the industries minister said. “It should have followed the highest level and international standards while handling this case.”
An important aspect of the controversy is a note from Swarna Ram’s office that was meant to be sent to Kalia.
Kalia said after his questioning that the CBI “accepted” the fact that he did not receive the note from Swarna Ram’s office. “The crux is that neither is there any note nor did Devinder ever meet me.”