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CBI ‘bribe-for-relief’ racket was running since 2018, finds probe

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has found that a “bribe-for-relief” racket was being run in the agency since 2018 by leaking confidential case related information to some companies being investigated for bank fraud, people familiar with the development said
By Neeraj Chauhan, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 15, 2021 11:47 PM IST

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has found that a “bribe-for-relief” racket was being run in the agency since 2018 by leaking confidential case related information to some companies being investigated for bank fraud, people familiar with the development said.

The agency has identified bribes worth 55 lakh paid to two of its officers– Deputy Superintendent of Police , R K Rishi ( 30 lakh) and Inspector Kapil Dhankad ( 25 lakh) – in lieu of favours extended to at least three companies.

In all, nine persons have been named in a First Information Report, including four CBI officers: Rishi (deployed at CBI academy); Dhankad (who is posted in Bank Securities and Fraud Cell BS&FC of CBI); DSP R K Sangwan (posted in Special Crimes Unit) and Stenographer in BS&FC , Sameer Kumar Singh.

Two advocates, Arvind Kumar Gupta and Manohar Malik have also been named along with Mandeep Kaur Dhillon (additional director of a company, Shree Shyam Pulp & Board Mills Pvt Ltd); and Sujai Desai and Udai Desai of Mumbai based company Frost International Pvt Ltd.

According to the FIR, reviewed by HT, the four CBI officers, along with the two advocates, and certain other accused have been “compromising the integrity of investigation of certain cases on extraneous pecuniary considerations”.

Both Shree Shyam Pulp & Board Mills Pvt Ltd (SSPBML) and Frost International are being investigated by CBI for defrauding banks. The case against Frost International was registered in August 2020 for cheating 14 banks of over 3500 crore.

The CBI FIR states that “in the case of SSPNML, R K Sangwan, who was previous investigating officer of the case, offered and paid a bribe of 10 lakh in cash on behalf of Mandeep Kaur to Inspector Kapil Dhankad”. “On his part, Dhankad conveyed confidential information relating to the investigation of this case to R K Sangwan, with an intention to favour the accused”.

It adds that R K Rishi paid 10 lakh bribe to Dhankad on behalf of Desais of Frost International.

Rishi himself received 15 lakh twice through advocates Malik and Gupta (having their offices in Defence Colony, Delhi), to extend favours to a Chandigarh based company against which a corruption case was being investigated by CBI, the FIR said. “In this matter, Dhankad twice received 2.5 lakh from Gupta for having brokered the deal through Rishi.”

The agency FIR says that “details of investigation of many other cases including confidential notes and directions have been communicated by (Sameer Kumar) Singh to Sangwan and Rishi on pecuniary considerations to protect the interests of the accused”.

The two DSPs , R K Rishi and R K Sangwan, facilitated the bribes by leaking the information to the companies, said an officer, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“The leak of sensitive case related information like raids, status of investigation, filing of charge sheet etc helps accused persons in destroying the evidence. There is a possibility that more officers are involved in the scandal as CBI investigations are monitored at various levels and documents are usually kept in respective branches. It is to be seen how Singh was leaking the documents without anyone’s knowledge,” said another CBI officer who didn’t want to be named.

CBI is investigating the magnitude of the racket, as it could be much bigger considering large number of bank fraud cases are under investigation.

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