Former Union Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal has been named as one of the key witnesses in the Rs 10 crore cash-for-post railway bribery case in which the Central Bureau of Investigation said his nephew Vijay Singla is the "main person" whose influence was to be used for getting a Railway Board Member appointed to a post seen as "lucrative".
Bansal has been named as the 39th prosecution witness in the case in which Singla, the then Member (Staff) of Railway Board Mahesh Kumar and eight others have been chargesheeted for the offence of criminal conspiracy under the IPC and relevant provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
"Moreover, he (Singla) was caught on the spot while accepting the bribe of Rs 90 lakhs from his office premises at Chandigarh. He was the main person whose influence was to be used for the appointment of Mahesh Kumar at his desired post of Member (Electrical)," the CBI charge sheet said.
CBI has alleged that Singla had demanded Rs 10 crore from Kumar for his appointment to the post of Member (Electrical) and it was decided between the accused that Rs 5 crore will be paid before the appointment and the rest will be paid after the job was done.
The first tranche of Rs 89.68 lakhs was given to Singla who was apprehended while accepting the money, it said.
CBI had filed charge sheet on May 2 against 10 accused -- Kumar, Singla, Managing Director of Bangalore-based G G Tronics India Pvt Limited Manjunath Narain Rao, middlemen Ajay Garg and Sandeep Goyal, Rahul Yadav, Samir Sandhir, Sushil Daga, C V Venugopal and M V Murali Krishan.
Barring Murali and Venugopal, CBI has arrested the eight accused named in its charge sheet.
Special CBI Judge Swarana Kanta Sharma today took cognisance of the CBI's charge sheet and issued summons to Murali and Venugopal for July 11. The judge also extended till July 11 the judicial custody of the eight arrested accused.
After taking cognisance of the charge sheet, the court supplied the copies and documents annexed to the final report to the eight arrested accused.
Detailing Singla's role, CBI said he had accepted a bribe of nearly Rs 90 lakh on May 3, this year in his office at Chandigarh.
"He (Singla) is the Managing Director, M/s JTL Infra Ltd, Chandigarh and is the nephew (sister's son) of the then Minister of Railways Pawan Kumar Bansal.
"There is evidence that he accepted bribe of Rs 90 lakh on May 3, 2013 in his office, which was the part payment of total bribe of Rs 10 crore for the alleged appointment of
Kumar as Member (electrical)," the charge sheet said.
Referring to Mahesh Kumar, the agency said he himself took the "initiative for his desired appointment and visited Delhi and also visited the residence of the (then) Minister of Railways to discuss about his posting as Member (electrical) with Singla".
The agency said Kumar's "modus operandi" was to obtain illegal gratification from private parties with the assurance to promote them after becoming Member (Electrical).
"The modus operandi adopted by Kumar was to obtain illegal gratification from the private parties involved in manufacturing of S and T items with the assurance to promote them after becoming Member (Electrical) and through them the same money was given to the nephew of the then Railways Minister.
"His act may be described as asking bribe to pay further bribe and therefore, constitutes a unique instance of 'bribe in bribe' i.e. using the bribe money for own purpose without receiving the same directly," the charge sheet said.
It also said that Kumar had directed Manjunath to talk to Goyal for "retaining with him the charge of GM (Western Railway) and also giving him the charge of S and T."
"He (Kumar) himself advised Manjunath that the amount to be given as advance should be very little and the remaining amount should be given only after the work was done," it said, adding that on Kumar's direction, the alleged bribe amount was delivered to Singla.
Describing Manjunath's role, the agency said, "He was the key person who arranged the whole conspiracy and also arranged the bribe amount".
It said that Manjunath was acting on behalf of Kumar to "mobilise" the bribe amount to be paid to Singla.
"He was not only eyeing huge favours in his business on appointment of Mahesh Kumar as Member (Electrical) but also desperately trying to convince other S and T industry people that their financial contribution in posting of Kumar would be in their best business interests," the charge sheet said.
The agency further said that Goyal was proprietor of M/s Pyramid Electronics and was Singla's friend and he played an active role in fixing and finalising the bribe amount.
It said that Garg was a conspirator in fixing the bribe amount while Yadav and Sandhir were involved in arrangement of bribe amount to be delivered to Singla.
The agency said that Daga was associated with the work of arranging, transporting and payment of bribe money for Kumar's desired posting and he also contributed about Rs 4.68 lakh on his part in it.
Regarding Venugopal and Murali, who have not been arrested by the CBI, the agency said they were well versed with the entire conspiracy for Kumar's posting.
Regarding the transaction of money, the CBI said that Rs 25 lakh had come from the account of G G Tronics India Pvt Ltd while it took Rs 25 lakh as loan from a Hyderabad-based firm M/s S S Enterprises.
"Investigation further revealed that an amount of Rs 50 lakh was finally received through hawala channel by accused Sandhir in Delhi on May 2, 2013 on the directions of Manjunath and active assistance of C V Venugopal," it said.
The CBI said that Manjunath took Rs 25 lakh from Murali while Rs 10 lakh was withdrawn by Yadav from an account of M/s Venkteshwara Rail Nirman Pvt Ltd in which Venugopal was one of the Directors.
Regarding Dharmender Kumar and Vivek Kumar, who were initially arrested in connection with the case but were later granted interim bail, the CBI said they did not know regarding the purpose for which the money was being delivered to Singla.
It said there is no credible evidence to prove criminality against them and they may be discharged in the case.
The agency said that the sanction to prosecute Kumar under the Prevention of Corruption Act is awaited from the competent authority and would be submitted before the court after it is received.
It said that the case was registered against Kumar and seven other private persons on May 3, 2013 on the basis of reliable information.
Along with the charge sheet, the agency has submitted the list of 90 prosecution witnesses and 48 sets of documents in the court.