Panicking at the sight of Central Bureau of Investigation sleuths at his doorstep, a customs official on Tuesday allegedly tried to set afire currency notes worth Rs 10 lakh, suspected to be received in bribe, after pouring whisky over them.
The incident occurred in Surat when CBI teams were conducting searches at 30 locations across the country and arrested nine people, including seven customs officials, in connection with an alleged bribery racket run by owner of a frieght forwarder company, an agency spokesperson said in New Delhi.
CBI sources said Customs Inspector Davinder Sangwan panicked when he saw CBI sleuths outside his house. In a fit of nervousness, Sangawan poured whisky on Rs 10 lakh which were in his possession and set them afire before letting the sleuths in.
"One of the inspectors of customs department at Surat also tried to burn the huge cash available with him before allowing the CBI team to enter his residence for conducting a search," the spokesperson said.
As part of the drive, the CBI registered three separate cases against seven customs officials of the rank of superintendent and inspectors posted across Gujarat and two employees of Khemji Freight Forwarder private limited owned by one Mehul Zaveri -- Tushar Vaghela and Girish.
The CBI teams arrested Customs Superintendents Chandu Bhai, K C Suresh, A K Barot from Ahmedabad, Om Prakash from Mundra and V K Pangi from Surat for allegedly receiving bribes from the company employees, sources said.
Two customs inspectors Davinder Sangwan and N B Chowdhary were also arrested from Surat by the CBI.
"It was alleged that the authorised signatory of Ahmedabad based Freight Forwarder Company was obliging many Customs officials and paying regular bribes to various customs officials in connection with the export-import activities in custom department in Gujarat," spokesperson said in New Delhi.
It has been gathered that a deep rooted corruption network exists where in some Custom House agents and private persons pay regular bribe to many officials on clearance basis, as per the rates already negotiated by them, he said.
Searches are being conducted at various locations in Ahmedabad, Mundra, Surat, Nadiad, Gandhidham, Vadodara, Junagadh, Mumbai and Delhi resulting in recovery of incriminating documents, he said.
"The authorised signatory of the Freight Forwarder company in the course of its import-export activities cleared consignments of various goods during the period from July, 2010 to October, 2010 in connivance with the accused customs officials and paid various amounts of bribes to them at various places including Ahmedabad, Mundra and Surat," he said.