Rail Neer scam: Court grants bail to senior Railways official

  • PTI, New Delhi
  • Updated: Nov 03, 2015 21:15 IST
Bottles of drinking water other than Rail neer at railway station in Ludhiana. (HT Photo)

A Delhi court on Tuesday granted bail to Indian Railways official Sandeep Silas who was arrested along with two others in connection with alleged corruption in supply of packaged drinking water in Rajdhani and other superfast trains.

Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS) officer Sandeep Silas, arrested along with two others in connection with alleged corruption in supply of packaged drinking water in Rajdhani and other superfast trains, was on Tuesday granted bail by a Delhi court.

Special Judge Vinod Kumar granted the relief to Silas, a 1984-batch Indian Railway Traffic Service officer, on a personal bond of Rs 50,000 with one surety of the like amount considering that his statement has already been recorded by CBI in detail and he has given the explanation with respect to his alleged role in the case.

“I have considered the submissions and I have also perused the case diaries and police record. The statement of accused Sandeep Silas has been recorded by investigating officer (IO) in detail in which he has given explanation in respect of his role in the present matter,” the judge said.

“Without expressing any opinion on the merit of his explanation, I am of the opinion that it would not be appropriate to withhold the benefit of bail to the applicant especially when he fully cooperated with IO in his five days police remand,” the judge said.

The court had earlier granted bail to co-accused M S Chalia, also an IRTS officer of 1987 batch. It had, howver, dismissed the bail plea of businessman Sharan Bihari Aggarwal, owner of R K Associates.

These three accused were arrested by CBI in the case in which it has alleged that supply of other brands of packaged water had resulted in a loss of Rs 6.25 crores to Railways.

CBI has alleged that Silas and Chalia had conspired with Aggrawal and instead of taking Rail Neer, they had allowed some private firms to supply bottled water in the trains, which resulted in a loss to the exchequer.

It has said that searches were conducted during the probe in which approximately Rs 28 crore cash was recovered, out of which around Rs four lakh was counterfeit.

Besides them, CBI has also registered case against seven private companies —- RK Associates Pvt Ltd, Satyam Caterers Pvt Ltd, Ambuj Hotel and Real Estate, PK Associates Pvt Ltd, Sunsine Pvt Ltd, Brandavan Food Product and Food World -— under Prevention of Corruption Act.

CBI has alleged that the two accused officials, who held the position of Chief Commercial Manager, had shown favour to these private firms in supply of cheap packaged drinking water other than ‘Rail Neer’ which is mandatory in premium trains, including Rajdhani and Shatabdi.

It has said that the Railway Board had prescribed that IRCTC shall provide Rail Neer at the rate of around Rs 10.50 per bottle to private caterers and they would be paid (approx) Rs 15 per bottle for supplying the same to the passengers in the premium trains.

CBI has claimed that in order to make undue gains, private suppliers were allegedly supplying cheap packaged water, other than Rail Neer, available in the market at a rate of Rs 5.70 to Rs 7 (approx) per bottle, thereby making a profit for themselves and loss to the exchequer.

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