The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday arrested Charu Narang Thakur, deputy financial adviser to the Border Security Force (BSF), along with Ludhiana-based businessman Sandeep Mehta, who was allegedly bribing her to clear his Rs. 10-lakh tender for supplying cloth to the force, in her office at the BSF camp in SAS Nagar.
Sleuths of the agency, who acted on a tip-off in the afternoon, claimed to have recovered the Rs. 1.8-lakh bribe on the spot, besides Rs. 1 lakh from the purse of Thakur, a 1998-batch officer of the postal and telecom (finance and accounts) services. On deputation to the BSF, she has held her current position since January 2011, while her husband is a commandant in the Sashastra Seema Bal. Her late father had served the Punjab health department.
Raids were also conducted at the house of Thakur's mother in Sector 35, Chandigarh, around 2.30pm. Leaving the house around 9pm, CBI officers said they had seized some documents of her property and bank accounts.
It is probably for the first time that the Chandigarh branch of the CBI has arrested both the seeker and giver of bribe. They would be produced in court on Thursday.
Sources said Mehta, who has been supplying cloth to the BSF for the region, had come to Thakur's office to bribe her for processing the documents of his tender, besides clearing pending payment of another Rs. 10 lakh. "Thakur had demanded Rs. 2 lakh but the deal had eventually been struck at Rs. 1.8 lakh," said CBI deputy inspector general (DIG) Mahesh Aggarwal. "We have arrested and booked both (Thakur and Mehta) under the Prevention of Corruption Act," he confirmed.
This is the second time in recent memory that the CBI has arrested a woman officer in a corruption case in the tricity. In July last year, SAS Nagar deputy superintendent of police (DSP) Raka Ghirra had been arrested while allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs. 1 lakh from a realtor, KK Malhotra, for "helping him out" in an inquiry against him. In that case, however, it was the bribe-giver himself who had provided the tip-off. Both Ghirra and her reader Manmohan Singh are facing charges of criminal conspiracy besides corruption, and are currently out on bail.