A Delhi court on Friday slammed the CBI for adopting a pick-and-choose policy in arresting the accused in the Rs. 10-crore cash-for-post railway bribery case, saying it showed the investigating agency in poor light.
Former railway minister PK Bansal’s nephew Vijay Singla is a key accused in the case. The court’s comments come at a time when the CBI’s decision to make Bansal a witness in the case is drawing criticism.
Special CBI judge Swarana Kanta Sharma took exception to the fact that two of the 10 accused — CV Venugopal and MV Murali Krishan — were not arrested even though the CBI’s director was monitoring the probe. The judge also rejected the bail pleas of the two accused, who were chargesheeted but not arrested.
“Such an unfair approach does not befit a premier investigation agency such as the CBI, as it certainly shows discrimination between the accused,” the judge said. “This practice of the CBI … sends a wrong signal to society that the CBI works according to whims and fancies at times and has no set norms regarding arrests.”
The judge added: “The submission that the CBI could not arrest them due to paucity of time or due to limited resources reflects poorly on the CBI.”
Sharma also said that the CBI had arrested Sameer Sandhir, Rahul Yadav and Sushil Daga on allegations similar to those levelled against Murali and Venugopal but the agency was unable to explain why they were not arrested.
Apart from these five, the CBI had also chargesheeted Singla, former member (staff) of railway board Mahesh Kumar, MD of Bangalore-based GG Tronics India Pvt Ltd Narayan Rao Manjunath, alleged middleman Sandeep Goyal and Ajay Garg.
The court said that although it is the CBI’s prerogative to arrest or not arrest an accused, this authority cannot be exercised arbitrarily.
In its July 2 charge sheet, the CBI alleged that Singla had demanded R10 crore from Mahesh Kumar for his appointment as member (electrical). The agency said it was decided between the accused that Rs. 5 crore will be paid before the appointment and the rest after the job.