Former Union railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said he became a "victim of a conspiracy hatched by the rail bureaucracy" when he detected anomalies in procedures for railway appointments.
"I became a victim of a conspiracy hatched by the rail bureaucracy," former union railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said on Wednesday.
"There were several discrepancies in procedures relating to senior-level appointments in the railways, which I had set out to reform. However, I was myself sucked into the vortex of this conspiracy," Bansal said in an exclusive interview.
Bansal - named as a prosecution witness by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the cash-for-promotion scam involving his nephew Vijay Singla and former railway board member Mahesh Kumar - also countered former board chairman Vinay Mittal's statement to the CBI that he had paid no need to repeated suggestions by him (Mittal) to start the process for appointing a general manager for the Western Railways (the post vacated by Mahesh Kumar).
"The file relating to Kumar's appointment as member (staff) was approved and signed by me on April 18 and forwarded for ACC (Appointments Committee of Cabinet) approval the same day. Following the receipt of the ACC approval on May 1, Kumar took charge on May 2. The next day, the CBI raids happened."
So, where was the time for Mittal to "repeatedly" remind me about the need to fill the post of GM, Western Railways," Bansal asked.
"Another officer could not have been appointed GM before his (Kumar's) appointment as member (staff)," the former minister pointed out, adding that "no specific orders had been issued by him to enable Kumar to 'look after' the charge as GM, Western Railways."
"I do not know why Mittal is saying this. This is completely untrue," Bansal said.
The Member of Parliament from Chandigarh said there were sections that had been persuading him to nominate a sitting board member for the railway board chairman's job.
"But I thank my stars for not having succumbed to such influences," he said.
"The selection process of top-level appointments had seemed faulty. The rightful claims of several senior and competent officers such as Rajeev Bhargava and Abhay Khanna have been sidestepped," said Bansal.
"I had trying to rectify this situation, but failed," the former railway minister added.