The Rajasthan high court on Thursday granted bail to IAS officer Ashok Singhvi and three others who were arrested in connection with a multi-crore mining scam in 2015.
The others who have been granted bail are former additional mining director Pankaj Gehlot, superintendent mining engineer PR Ameta and middleman Sanjay Sethi.
The four have been in jail for the past seven months. They moved their bail applications on Thursday before justice Nirmaljeet Kaur who heard the arguments for about an hour and granted them bail. Their release is expected by Saturday, sources said, citing court procedures.
In September 2015, the anti-corruption bureau (ACB) had arrested eight persons in connection with an illegal sanction of 100 mines for money. However, mining baron of Chittorgarh, Sher Khan, who was one of them, passed away and the rest, barring Singhvi and the three, were granted bail.
The scam and subsequent arrests had made headlines when ACB sleuths recovered cash worth several crores, gold and silver articles during raids on Singhvi’s premises.
It all began with the tip-off in September that a middleman had received a bribe of Rs 2.5 crore from an Udaipur chartered accountant on behalf of the state officials to illegally allow Sher Khan quarrying at mines in Chittorgarh.
Initially, Singhvi managed to evade arrest by allegedly pulling his political strings and even escaped the opposition’s attack. However, visualizing serious implications of the mining scam, chief minister Vasundhara Raje, who also heads the anti-corruption department, gave her nod for Singhvi’s arrest.
Subsequently, the police arrested the bureaucrat from his secretariat office, brought him to his Civil Lines home and arrested him after recovering cash and unaccounted money.
Singhvi will be out on bail but the ACB is still awaiting the sanction to prosecute him from the Centre as is mandatory. “We have sent his file to department of personnel and training in September [last year] itself. But, despite several reminders, we haven’t heard from the Centre yet,” he said.