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Vardhan's policy custody extended to June 3

May 27, 2003 18:32 IST

Anurag VardhanSpecial CBI Judge Prem Kumar extended the police custody remand of Anurag Vardhan, a 1994 batch Indian Revenue Service officer who had allegedly paid a bribe of Rs 400,000 for getting a transfer to Mumbai, by a week.

The judge has now directed the investigating agency to produce him in the court on June 3.

"The tape recorded version of the conversation between Vardhan, A Krishnamurthy (the middleman), and R Perumalswamy (personal assistant to former minister of state for finance Gingee Ramachandran and the main accused), clearly shows that the accused had struck the deal by payment of money not only for his transfer, but had also negotiated for the transfer of two of his colleagues. Thus the possibility of a bigger racket of transfers cannot be ruled out," the judge said in his remand order.

He disagreed with the plea of the defence counsels Dinesh Mathur and Siddharth Luthra that the accused had got himself transferred to New Delhi last year with a view to getting the best treatment for his children who are suffering from autistic syndrome.

He agreed with the CBI advocate A S Cheema's plea that Vardhan had used the treatment of his children as an excuse for his transfer to Delhi.

"The CBI has yet to unravel the reasons for seeking transfer by the accused from Delhi to Mumbai. The CBI has yet to unearth the complete role of the accused in his transfer by paying a bribe of Rs 400,000," he said.

The judge allowed Vardhan's wife and children to meet him for 30 minutes on alternate days.

He remanded the other accused S Padmanabhan to judicial custody till June 10.

The judge also allowed Perumalswamy's wife, daughter and brother to meet him during the custody and speak to him on phone.

The anti-corruption branch of the CBI had on May 22 arrested Perumalswamy for allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs 400,000 from Anurag Vardhan, a 1994 batch Indian Revenue Service officer, to help Vardhan get a transfer to Mumbai from New Delhi.

Judge Prem Kumar had on May 23 sent Perumalswamy to police custody till June 2, and remanded two other accused -- IRS officers Anurag Vardhan and S Padmanabhan, a project associate at the Centre for Atmospheric Science, IIT, Delhi and a friend of Perumalswamy -- to four days in police custody for interrogation.

The judge had directed the CBI to produce the two in court on May 27.

"The main accused Perumalswamy, alias 'Babu', is remanded to police custody for 10 days," judge Prem Kumar had said in his two page order on May 23.

The CBI had alleged that Vardhan had struck a deal with Perumalswamy through a Chennai-based chartered accountant, A Krishnamurthy, to arrange a transfer from Delhi to Mumbai. The CBI, in its remand application, said that Krishnamurthy had asked Perumalswamy to go to Vardhan's house to pick up Rs 400,000.

Perumalswamy was arrested on May 23 as soon as he came out the Safdarjung residence of Vardhan after allegedly accepting the bribe. S Padmanabhan was with him at the time of the arrest.

Onkar Singh in New Delhi