Patna circle head of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) Phanikant Mishra and a clerk were caught red handed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) while taking a bribe of Rs 90,000 from a contractor in their office. The CBI sleuths also recovered Rs 2.10 lakh in cash from Mishra’s drawer during search of the ASI office located on the Ashok Raj Path near BN College.
Sources said that a contractor had complained to the CBI’s Patna office that Mishra was demanding 10 per cent as commission to release the payment of the bill amounting to over Rs 8.50 lakh. Subsequently, a trap was laid and Mishra and his clerk Rajesh were caught red-handed. The arrested ASI officials would be produced before the special CBI court after thorough interrogation.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has stumbled upon some important documents pertaining to alleged omission and commissions of Patna circle chief of the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) Phani Kant Mishra, who along with a clerk was caught red-handed while taking bribe from a contractor on Monday.
“We have seized some important documents during search of Mishra’s house. The scrutiny of the documents is on,” an investigating officer said, adding that the Bureau would take a decision whether to lodge a disproportionate assets case or not against Mishra only after scrutiny of the seized documents.
The officer said it was purely a trap case in which Mishra and a clerk posted at the same office, Rajesh Kumar, were taken into custody. “Both the arrested persons will be produced before the special CBI court after interrogation,” he said.
The officer told HT that a complaint was lodged by a contractor against the ASI chief for allegedly demanding 10 per cent as commission to release the payment of bill amounting to Rs 8.50 lakh (approximately). “Mishra used to collect bribe through the clerk,” he disclosed.
However, sources close to Mishra’s family said that an employee of the same office was after Mishra following a dispute with him over some issue. “The said employee was hell bent on implicating him in a false case,” a family acquaintance said. Mishra had returned from an official tour from Japan recently.
But, the CBI sources rubbished the allegation and said, "Apart from Rs 90,000, which Mishra had accepted as illegal gratification, the raiding team recovered Rs 2.10 lakh cash from his drawer.”
It is perhaps for the first time that a senior officer of the Archeological Survey of India has fallen into CBI net for accepting illegal gratification.