Former Railway Minister Pawan Bansal is all set to get a clean chit in the ‘job for sell’ scam, following which he had to step down on May 10. The CBI which had claimed to have concrete evidences against him in the scam, now seems to be taking a U-turn. The Agency chief recently claimed that he has no evidence to prove that Mahesh Kumar gave Rs 90 lakh on the instance of Pawan Bansal. The May 15 statement of the CBI chief even before the probe was over is clear indication to which direction the CBI probe is heading in this scam.
The CBI officers conducting the investigation are astonished over the statement of the agency chief. They are busy in gathering more evidences and also to interrogate Bansal, but their head is giving a clean chit to the accused. Contrary to the CBI director, the officers involved in the investigation are firm that they have full evidence, proving the involvement of Bansal in the scam. They believe that Vijay Singla, nephew of Bansal, made entire deal on the instance of Bansal. They are trying to gather more evidences to prove it substantially. Interestingly, one day back the same CBI chief Ranjit Sinha had said that the investigation in the railway bribe case would be complete within three months.
The statement of the CBI director came on second day of the constitution of a Group of Ministers constituted to suggest the ways and means to free the ‘parrot’ from the ‘cage’ i.e. the CBI from political interference. Not only the indications to give clean chit to Bansal, but Ranjit Sinha also on May 15 said that ‘it is in the interest of the CBI that somebody keeps a watch on its functioning but without interfering in the investigation’. It is basically the same language that the UPA government is giving to defend its interference in the CBI functioning.
On May 13 the CBI had reportedly seized files related to appointments, promotions, transfers and tenders of the last four years in Railway Ministry, the details of which have emerged in the phone calls intercepted by the agency in connection with bribery scandal involving Bansal’s nephew Vijay Singla and suspended Railway Board member Mahesh Kumar. A CBI team visited Rail Bhavan to collect the files, which have figured in over 1,000 calls intercepted by the agency during the past two months.
The agency was expected to question the officials whose names figured in conversations between the four accused — Singla, Kumar and middlemen Manjunath and Sandeep Goel. The agency primarily focused on the phone intercepts of these four as main conspiracy was allegedly hatched among them. The agency is also likely to question Bansal and his two sons in this connection besides senior members of the Railway Board who were privy to the promotion of Mahesh Kumar from General Manager to Board member. The agency is likely to record the statement of present Railway Board Chairman Vinay Mittal in this connection.
The case relates to reported aspirations of Kumar for his elevation as Member (Electrical) in the Railway Board for which he allegedly contacted Goel, a close associate of Bansal’s nephew Vijay Singla. And Goel had allegedly demanded Rs 10 crore for it. Kumar was in the meantime elevated from GM (West) to Member (Staff) in Railway Board, a post in which he was not apparently very interested. He then allegedly asked Goel to help him retain the additional charge of GM (West) for which the middleman demanded an additional Rs 2 crore as immediate payment.
The agency alleged as part payment Rs 90 lakh was delivered to Singla, after which it carried out searches at their premises and recovered the alleged bribe amount. CBI has so far arrested eight persons in the case.