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CBI wants to chargesheet ICCR ex director

The CBI seeks the Centre’s approval to file a chargesheet against four former top officials of the ICCR, involved in a case of illegally trafficking, reports Nagendar Sharma.

india Updated: Oct 23, 2007 01:32 IST
Nagendar Sharma
Nagendar Sharma
Hindustan Times

The CBI has sought the Centre’s approval to file a chargesheet against four former top officials of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), involved in a case of illegally trafficking 10 people from Punjab to Germany in 2005.

“We have completed our investigations and are ready with the chargesheet. Since the case involves two officials from the Ministry of External Affairs, sanction to prosecute them is required from the ministry, which we have sought,” a senior CBI official said.

Former director-general of ICCR, Rakesh Kumar, IFS officers Madhup Mohta, Kehkeshan Tyagi and Mohammad Khaliq have been booked in the case. The IFS officers have steadfastly denied any involvement in the wrongdoings. The accused, who travelled to Germany on documents forged by the ICCR officials, have all been booked for criminal conspiracy, forgery, cheating and under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The inquiry showed that the planning for the illegal trafficking was done by Rakesh Kumar himself.

"In January 2005, an employee of Punjab Agriculture University (PAU) Ludhiana, a close acquaintance of Rakesh Kumar, motivated a local agriculturalist to form a Bhangra group for the purpose of his own and his sons illegal migration to Germany alongwith others".

"An application with forged certificates was submitted at the ICCR seeking help for visit of a fictitious Bhangra group - Mahek Punjab Di. This group was provided al help by the Council under direct intervention from DG Rakesh Kumar", the CBI enquiry report further stated.

The investigating agency in its FIR has said it had evidence of Kumar having accepted Rs 25 lakh as bribe to facilitate the illegal trafficking of "ignorant people", who wanted to go abroad at any cost.

Kumar, a 1972 batch IFS officer, was posted as Special Secretary (Economic Relations) in the External Affairs Ministry, when the case came to light last year. Mohta, a 1985 batch officer, was the Director of Foreign Service Institute, in the same ministry.

At the time of this case, the ICCR was headed by senior BJP leader and former deputy chairperson of Rajya Sabha, Najma Heptulla. She is presently herself facing a CBI probe in a photo morphing case.

Heptulla is accused of having morphed a 1958 photo of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad in order to show her seated alongside him.

First Published: Oct 23, 2007 01:23 IST