During the resumed hearing of the trial in the corruption case against former chief parliamentary secretary (CPS) and senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Raj Khurana, the shadow witness claimed that bribe money was recovered from the boot of the car belonging to conduit and coaccused Devinder Singh Thapa.
Deepak Jain, in his statement before the court, said that the bribe amount of Rs 1.5 crore was recovered from the boot of Devinder’s car parked outside Khurana’s house.
He claimed that Thapa, who acted as a mediator, had accepted Rs 1.5 crore - Rs 15 lakh in cash, and Rs 1.35 crore through nine cheques - at the official residence of Khurana on May 4, 2011, the night of the trap.
Jain added that the entire bribe was recovered from the boot of Thapa’s car, and cheques were also recovered from him.
During the hearing on Thursday, CBI special judge Vimal Kumar recorded the statement of shadow witness Deepak Jain, customs and excise inspector. The case will now come up for hearing on May 7.
The case had made headlines in May 2011 after the arrest of Khurana and Devinder Singh Thapa, a junior assistant in the office of the registrar of Firms and Societies, Punjab. Following his arrest, Khurana had to resign from the post of chief parliamentary secretary.
CBI special judge Vimal Kumar, on August 16, had framed charges under Section 8 of the Prevention of Corruption Act and Section 120B ( criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against Khurana, Thapa and Bhag Singh, private secretary at the Punjab secretariat, posted as personal assistant to then minister Swarna Ram.
The names of BJP ministers Manoranjan Kalia and Swarna Ram had also cropped up in the case leading to their resignation, but later the two were given a clean chit.
CBI had alleged that the three hatched a criminal conspiracy to get a complaint quashed against the executive members of Punjab Automobile Mechanics’ Association for which they accepted ` 1.5 crore in bribe from the complainant.
The three were arrested in May 2011 on the complaint of Manpreet Singh. The complaint was to be quashed by then industries minister Manoranjan Kalia and Thapa had convinced the complainant that Khurana could get it quashed.
The complainant, Manpreet, general secretary of Punjab Auto mobile Mechanics ’ Association, had accused Thapa of demanding Rs 2 crore allegedly to be given to Kalia, through Khurana ‘for closing the complaint.’
On the complain t of Manpreet, the CBI laid a trap on May 5, 2011, and arrested Khurana and Thapa, while they were accepting Rs 1.5 crore from the complainant.