The Central Bureau of Investigation arrested Bhushan Steel Limited’s vice-chairman Neeraj Singhal on Thursday for allegedly paying Rs. 50 lakh as bribe to Syndicate Bank’s chairman and managing director SK Jain. The agency is also trying to find out if Jain received Rs. 3 crore as kickback from another private firm, Prakash Industries.
CBI arrested two officials of Prakash Industries on Saturday and has reportedly intercepted telephonic conversations indicating that the company paid a bribe to Jain for extending its credit limit. The investigating agency, though, is yet to track down and seize the alleged kickback sum. “We are still trying, but it is certain that the money was paid,” said a CBI source.
The agency took Jain into custody on Saturday in the Bhushan Steel case, but Singhal was missing, with multiple teams including a technical-surveillance unit hot on his trail. On Friday night, a CBI team had gone to Singhal’s residence, where he was present at the time, to carry out searches. But, instead of “picking him up” as directed by agency director Ranjit Sinha, the investigators had asked Singhal to come down to the CBI headquarters the next morning for interrogation. After this Singhal had disappeared, sources said. He was finally nabbed outside a five-star hotel in south Delhi after the CBI kept a close watch.
The agency director had ordered an internal inquiry against a senior member of the investigating team to ascertain why Singhal had not been picked up on Friday night itself.
As the probe gets bigger, the CBI is set to rope in the Enforcement Directorate and the Income Tax department to examine other aspects, including of money laundering and unaccounted money in the Syndicate Bank case. The CBI may also try to ascertain whether there were any irregularities in Jain’s appointment.