Bribe probe officer in ‘bribe net’
The main investigator into a “bribes-for-loans” scam involving state-run and private firms has taken a bribe from one of the companies involved, said sources in the ministry of home affairs, who declined to be identified.
There are also signs the CBI’s economic offences wing, which is investigating the case, is dragging its feet, the sources said.
“CBI officials have not questioned several people whose names figure in the statements of the accused and witnesses,” said an official.
The case involves high-ranking employees at state-run companies allegedly granting out-of-turn loans amounting to thousands of crores of rupees and revealing confidential information to private firms over the past two years.
Gaurav Dani, a lawyer representing Vatika, one of the firms that benefited from the largesse, used an intermediary to pass on lakhs of rupees to NS Raju, deputy superintendent of police with the CBI who is the case’s investigating officer, the sources said.
Dani called the allegation “nonsensical”, while Raju did not return HT’s calls."We are verifying the allegation," said P Kandaswamy, joint director of the CBI’s economic offences wing in Mumbai to whom the ministry sent a letter describing the allegation against his subordinate Raju.
A CBI official, however, denied the agency was dragging its feet. He said that the CBI wing may not have questioned some people because it was probing only allegations of graft and not of illegal lending since it was empowered to look into cases involving amounts of only up to R20 crore.
“The CBI’s bank securities and fraud cell has begun investigating the other alleged improprieties,” said the official.
Last month, it filed a charge sheet against one of the five state-run firm officials, Maninder Singh Johar, director at Central Bank of India. In November, its Economic Offences Wing arrested five persons from the state-run firms and three from Money Matters.