Central Bureau of Investigation director Ranjit Sinha ordered an internal inquiry on Tuesday to find out why his team did not arrest a key accused in the Syndicate Bank bribery case despite clear instructions to pick him up.
Neeraj Singhal, vice-chairman of Bhushan Steel, is yet to join the probe and investigators say they are unable to trace him.
CBI arrested the chief managing director of state-run Syndicate Bank, SK Jain, on Saturday after he allegedly demanded Rs50 lakh from Bhushan Steel in exchange for providing extensions on loans to the company that had defaulted on payments.
Sources in the investigation agency say Singhal was present at his home on Friday night when CBI carried out a search there in connection with the case.
“We have ordered an internal probe into the non-arrest of Neeraj Singhal by our team,” Sinha confirmed.
The CBI team had returned from Singhal’s residence after merely serving him a notice that asked him to appear at the agency’s headquarters for questioning on Saturday morning.
While Singhal’s whereabouts are unknown, he has filed an anticipatory bail application that will come up for hearing in a city-based trial court on Wednesday.
Apart from Jain, CBI had taken eight others into custody on Saturday, including an alleged representative of Bhushan Steel, two employees from another private firm, and some middlemen. At least six more arrests are likely, sources say.
The agency has also raided Jain’s home in Bengaluru, where it seized Rs21 lakh in cash, gold worth Rs1.68 crore and fixed deposit receipts of Rs63 lakh.