After the arrest of R. Vasudevan, acting chairman of the Company Law Board (CLB), and a company secretary, Manoj Kumar Banthia, on charges of corruption, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) asked third accused in the case, lawyer Ankur Chawla, to join investigations on Thursday.
“Chawla, who represents one faction of the Amar Ujala group as a lawyer, had arranged Rs 10 lakh, of which Rs 7 lakh was delivered by Banthia to Vasudevan. We recovered the remaining Rs 3 lakh from a Delhi hotel where Banthia was staying. We want to question him,” said a CBI source who did not want to be identified.
On Monday, Vasudevan was arrested by CBI officials from his residence in Delhi while he was allegedly accepting Rs 7 lakh as bribe from Banthia to favour one of the two feuding factions of media house Amar Ujala.
Vasudevan, a board member, had been acting chairman since the retirement of S. Balasubramanian on November 2.
CBI sources claimed the entire deal was organised by Chawla, who had engaged Banthia for the purpose. Banthia, who reportedly knows Vasudevan for a long time, had come from Kolkata and was staying in Room 606 of ITC The Maurya.
Among the documents seized from Chawla’s Defence Colony house was a file relating to the Amar Ujala case, the CBI source said, adding: “It establishes his links with the case.”
Chawla said he would cooperate with the investigators fully in case they wanted his assistance to find out the truth “because I have nothing to hide”.
Banthia, the source said, had admitted his guilt during interrogation and disclosed vital details to the agency.