CBI has begun investigation into the alleged bribe offer made by a journalist said to be on behalf of Corporate lobbyist Niira Radia after registering a case following a complaint by Enforcement Directorate.
Highly-placed sources in the agency said a Preliminary Enquiry (PE) has been registered and the journalist - Upendra Rai - will be called for questioning soon after the statement of Enforcement Directorate was recorded.
The Enforcement Directorate has asked the CBI to probe the incident claiming that Rai, working as director (News) Sahara News Network, had approached one of its officers, probing the 2G scam, with a bribe offer of Rs two crore.
The sources said the probe into the PE has begun and it would be completed in three months.
When contacted, Rai denied the allegations and said that he would cooperate in the probe. "I hope that a through probe is carried out in the case which includes summoning of the ED official who made allegation against me," he said.
He acknowledged that he had known corporate lobbyist Niira Radia but that was on the professional front as he was heading the business department of another news channel.
"During the last so many years, I may have spoken or met her for not more than eight to ten times," he said and termed it as a "deep-rooted conspiracy to malign" him.
Rai said that he had met the officer in question - Assistant Director Rajeshwar Singh - merely for "five minutes".
The allegation is that the journalist had sought an appointment with the official on the pretext of "furnishing some information" in its probe in the 2G scam. The ED is probing alleged violation of Prevention of Money Laundering Act in the spectrum scam.
Denying any association with Rai or the bribe offer, a spokesperson for Vaishnavi Corporate Communications Private Limited said "we categorically deny the allegations as mentioned.
"We are not aware of any journalist acting on our behalf. It is a matter of record that we have always cooperated with all the investigative agencies and have been available for all personal appearances on intimation.
"We welcome proper and thorough investigation by the authorities to unearth the truth. We hope that the truth will emerge and lay to rest all these wild allegations," the spokesperson said.