|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
Former CBI director recalls Sukhram case
February 25, 2009 19:26 IST
"I had never seen so much of cash at one go," recalls former Central Bureau of Investigation director Joginder Singh during whose tenure the investigating agency had searched the house of former Union minister Sukhram, who was on Wednesday given a three-year jail term in a disproportionate assets case.
"I had returned from the Supreme Court and it was raining heavily when my officers told me at my office that the cash recovered was Rs 50 lakhs, which kept on mounting every 10 minutes," the 69-year-old Singh said while recalling that this was his first major case after heading the CBI in 1996.
Singh said he vividly remembered the moment when he sprang out of the chair when one of his officers called him and informed him that the cash recovery had touched Rs 1 crore.
"I informed the then revenue secretary and asked him to send an income-tax team while I myself went to the Sukhram's residence at Safdurjung lane," Singh said.
"As I reached I saw my men counting wads of cash and the figure had crossed Rs 1 crore. By this time, we received information from Mandi in Himachal Pradesh [Images] as well. I had never seen so much of money together," he said and added that even the then prime minister H D Deve Gowda was dazed when he was told about the cash recovery.
Though Joginder expected a harsher punishment, he said the conviction of a former Union minister in a disproportionate assets case may set an example for all politicians, who are inclined to corruption that law can catch up with them anytime.
"Though very late, but I am happy that there has been a conviction in a disproportionate assets case involving a former minister. I think three years for a disproportionate case involving Rs 4 crore is little less," Singh said.
This is the first case in which the CBI had appointed a superintendent of police as the investigating officer.
"I appointed Ranjit Singh Sandhu (at present working with the United Nations Organisation) as the investigation officer in this case," he said.
"My officers wanted to conduct the raid on August 15 but I postponed it by a day. I thought let the Independence Day be over peacefully," he said.
Asked whether any pressure was being exerted on him, Singh said, "No one pressurised me except few friends of mine, who asked be to beware as politicians may hit back at me."
"During the investigations, Sukhram tried to meet me for several times, but I declined the meeting," Singh added.