It was meticulous planning that helped the Central Bureau of Investigation catch former Central Home Minister Buta Singh's son Sarabjot alias Sweety Singh allegedly receiving bribe. Here is how the agency did it:
It started with a corruption complaint by Ramraj Patil, a civil contractor for the Nashik Municipal Corporation, filed before the CBI Mumbai branch a fortnight ago.
Patil alleged that Sweety Singh had demanded a bribe of Rs 3 crore - the amount was brought down to Rs 1 crore after negotiations - for withdrawal of a case under the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, filed against him by a group of workers he had employed.
Buta Singh, a veteran Congress leader, is now chairperson of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
Patil promised to cough up Rs 1 crore but also informed the CBI about Sweety Singh's alleged demand.
Highly placed CBI sources said in New Delhi on Friday that after verifying details of the complaint, a case against Sweety Singh, Pune-based Anup Bedi and Mumbai-based hawala operators Madhu Singh and Dhunka Singh was filed July 22.
They said Bedi reached Mumbai and met Patil Wednesday and collected Rs 1 crore from him in a hotel in Chembur area.
Bedi then made a telephone call to Sweety Singh, who asked him to reach Mumbai Central and from there to make a call on a particular number and inform one of the hawala operators that Patil had sent the money, according to the sources.
"This event occurred in the presence of independent witnesses and their statements have been duly recorded. In between, Sweety Singh called Bedi and asked him if he had reached the spot," a senior CBI official said, not wishing to be identified.
"Bedi reached Mumbai Central and called the hawala operator, who directed him to come near the Harkisandas Hospital. The hawala operator then escorted Bedi to a shop on the VP Road in Mumbai Central. The CBI then arrested the two of them while they were counting the cash," the official added.
The sources said the hawala operator in his interrogation revealed he was being instructed by a Bangalore-based hawala operator to accept the amount. The Bangalore-based man is still absconding.
"After the interrogation, we further conducted searches at Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore and New Delhi. And the other two accused were also arrested. Sweety Singh was detained in Delhi Thursday evening and was taken to Mumbai," the official added.