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Tuesday, Dec 10, 2019

CBI files FIR in Rs 100 bribery case in UP’s Pratapgarh district

The two postal department employees allegedly threatened the commission agent that his wife’s work with the post office will be stopped if they are not paid.

india Updated: Dec 02, 2019 22:33 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has lodged an FIR against two postal department employees in Pratapgarh district of Uttar Pradesh for demanding  a bribe of Rs 100 from a post office commission agent for every deposit of Rs 20000.
Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has lodged an FIR against two postal department employees in Pratapgarh district of Uttar Pradesh for demanding a bribe of Rs 100 from a post office commission agent for every deposit of Rs 20000.(PTI)
         

The Central Bureau of Investigation which often investigates big-ticket corruption cases involving crores of rupees, has registered a case against two postal department officials in Uttar Pradesh’s Pratapgarh district for allegedly demanding a bribe of Rs 100 under the guise of service charge from a commission agent.

The FIR, a copy of which HT has seen, was registered on November 30 on a complaint to the CBI in Lucknow by one Prabhat Kumar Singh, of Kunda town in Pratapgarh. Singh claimed that he used to go to the post office regularly with his wife Shubha to deposit money collected from individuals looking to put their savings in the post office savings schemes. Shubha works as a commission agent for the post office in Kunda and gets regular commission from there.

According to Singh’s complaint which is now part of the FIR, two officials at the post office – Santosh Kumar Saroj (Supervisor) and Suraj Mishra (postal assistant) told him that they will have to pay Rs 100 bribe on every Rs 20,000 deposited in the post office. Singh had gone to the post office to deposit Rs 60,000 on his wife’s behalf on November 27 for which Saroj and Mishra charged him Rs 300 bribe, the FIR states.

Earlier, the accused postal department employees had taken Rs 500 and Rs 300 for deposits of Rs 99,400 and Rs 59,920 that Singh and his wife made on November 25 and 26 respectively. Saroj and Mishra told Singh and his wife that the money they were charging was “Suvidha Shulk” (service charge).

They had also threatened that his wife’s work with the post office will be stopped if they are not paid, the FIR alleges.

CBI sources said the agency verified the allegations and found them to be true.

A retired CBI officer, who did not wish to be named, told HT that the agency which is already under-staffed, was stretching itself unnecessarily.

“Although the amount involved doesn’t make a difference in a prevention of corruption act case, a premier agency like CBI, which is already short-staffed and has hundreds of probes involving thousands of crores, investigating an Rs 100 bribery case puts further stress on its resources,” he said.

“Investigating such a case would involve investigating officer going to the spot, conducting searches and arrests, approaching court through the public prosecutor and file chargesheet and all this entails costs,” the former officer added.

According to Central Vigilance Commission’s annual report 2018, the CBI is short of 1,312 officers.

When contacted, CBI refused to comment officially but an officer requesting anonymity, said, “No case is big or small for us. We treat all cases equally”.

A CBI spokesperson said, “CBI intervened in a public complaint where poor villagers had to bribe to get their own money deposited (in the post office). There was a need to assist the poor rural people. This modus operandi impacted several villages in the area”.

The CBI spokesperson, however, could not explain the logic for this statement as the CBI FIR doesn’t mention any villagers or larger conspiracy.

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