A special CBI court on Thursday issued non-bailable warrants (NBWs) against Neeraj Singal, Vice Chairman and Managing Director of Bhushan Steel Ltd (BSL), and Purushotam Totlani, an alleged middleman, in connection with the Syndicate Bank bribery case.
Special CBI Judge Swarana Kanta Sharma issued the NBWs against them after CBI's investigating officer (IO) said they were evading arrest in the case and were required to be interrogated to unearth the entire conspiracy.
"Having heard senior public prosecutor for CBI, the IO of the case and having regard to the facts and circumstances of the case that the accused persons are evading arrest, I deem it appropriate to order issuance of NBWs against both the accused persons (Singal and Totlani)," the judge said.
The order came after the CBI informed the court that both the accused were evading arrest and despite several efforts and repeated notices being served upon them, they have not joined the ongoing probe yet.
The agency also claimed that Singal and Totlani were required to be confronted with other co-accused persons who were arrested in the case and are presently in CBI's custody.
It said that the ongoing probe into the case would be seriously prejudiced if these two accused were not confronted with the other co-accused. After hearing the submissions of CBI, the court issued the NBWs against both the accused.
The order came a day after the court had dismissed the anticipatory bail plea of Singal observing that he was one of the "key beneficiaries" and was required to be confronted with other co-accused.
The judge had on Wednesday dismissed the anticipatory bail plea of Singal observing that the offence alleged in the case was serious in nature as it involves huge amount of public money.
The court, while dismissing the anticipatory bail plea of Singal, had said, "The intercepted conversation also needs to be put to the accused.
An employee of applicant Neeraj Singal, who had taken the alleged bribe amount to Bhopal, is also not yet traced.
The co-accused Purushotam Totlani is also absconding.
"The offence in question is serious in nature, requires custodial interrogation especially when bribe amount of Rs 50,00,00 has been recovered from the possession of co-accused in consonance with the alleged intercepted conversation," it had said. On August 2, CBI had arrested six accused, including Jain, for allegedly taking bribe of Rs 50,00,000 for increasing credit limit of some companies in violation of banking rules.
CBI has filed two cases against Jain -- accusing him of receiving a bribe of Rs 50,00,000 through conduits and abusing his official position to enhance the credit limits of some companies in violation of laid down procedures.
According to CBI, it had conducted searches at several places in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Bhopal in connection with the case.
CBI had claimed to have recovered cash of Rs 21,00,000 from Jain's residence besides gold worth Rs 1.68 crore and documents of fixed deposits of upto Rs 63,00,000.
In the two FIRs, CBI has named Singal, Ved Prakash Agarwal, Chairman-cum-Managing Director of Prakash Industries, Pawan Bansal, chartered accountant, Vineet and Puneet Godha (relatives of Jain), Vijay Pahuja, Purushotam Totlani and Pankaj Bansal. They have been booked under various provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act and criminal conspiracy under the IPC.