The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday detained the son of senior Congress leader Buta Singh in a bribery case.
<b1>Sarabjot Singh, alias Sweety, is accused of demanding a bribe from Ram Rao Patil, a Nashik-based builder against whom a case under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act was registered. Buta, a former Union home minister, is chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes.
CBI officials said Sarabjot allegedly demanded the bribe to settle the case which the commission is pursuing. The agency also suspects the bribe was collected on Buta’s behalf and is investigating this angle.
A senior CBI official said Sarabjot asked a Mumbai-based hawala operator to collect the money from Patil.
The hawala operator was caught on Wednesday night taking Rs 1 crore in Mumbai. Subsequently, a CBI team went to Delhi on Thursday and brought Sarabjot to the city.
The official said Buta had instructed the Nashik police to register the case against Patil on July 18. Patil is accused of taking a Rs 10-crore loan from a cooperative society in Mumbai against the names of 100 Nashik-based backward class workers. Patil allegedly took the signatures of the workers on blank papers and got the loan in their name. When the loan wasn’t repaid, the bank sent notices to the workers.
Since the complaint was registered, the police had not been able to trace Patil. But a week ago, Sarabjot met Patil and allegedly demanded Rs 3 crore.
“He told him if he pays, neither the commission nor police would follow the case,” the official said. Patil negotiated at Rs 1 crore and agreed to pay the hawala agent. But he approached the CBI instead, which set up a trap.
When contacted, Buta’s family refused to comment, but said they’d talk to newspersons on Friday.