A court in New Delhi today allowed Central Bureau of Investigation to quiz in custody a senior Ministry of Home Affairs official and two others for two days for allegedly accepting Rs 10 lakh as bribe in the purchase of bullet-proof jackets for Central Police Forces.
"Considering the facts and circumstances of the case, I deem it proper that the accused are remanded to police custody in the interest of investigation," Additional Sessions Judge O P Saini said while sending the accused to CBI custody till May 1.
Radhey Shyam Sharma, a Indian Railway and Engineering Officer of 1984 batch and R K Gupta and his wife Laveena Gupta, both directors of a Delhi-based company involved in production of defence equipments, are booked under various penal provisions dealing with giving and accepting bribe, conspiracy and misconduct on the part of public servants. Seeking custodial interrogation of the accused, the CBI prosecutor said "the bribe of Rs 10 lakh, given by Guptas to the MHA official, is still to be recovered and the accused are required to be taken outside Delhi for recovering crucial evidence and unearthing the entire case."
"We also want to ascertain as to whether some other officials of the ministry are involved in the scam or not? For this purpose, the custody of the accused is required," the prosecutor said. Advocate Kishan Nautiyal, appearing for Guptas, opposed the CBI plea saying "it is an admitted fact that M/s Anjani Technoclass Ltd (of which the accused are directors) was not awarded the said contract by the MHA for supply of 59,000 bullet proof jackets." R K Gupta, who also spoke in his defence, alleged he has been framed at the instance of the home minister as he had tried to expose the alleged "cartel" inside the ministry which award such contracts.
"This is a revenge being taken by the home minister. I and my wife are the technocrats and were students of IITs. We are, in fact, the whistle blowers and forced to pay the price for it," R K Gupta said.
"This is a bigger scam than the Bofors. We will have more (Hemant) Karkares if such elements are allowed to have their say in such decision-making process," the accused said. The CBI prosecutor opposed the plea saying "we are not a puppet investigative agency. CBI does not work under the MHA and it carries on the probe independently."
"We have got the CD of their taped conversation and this court can hear the same inside the chamber," the prosecutor said. "At one point of time, the accused is saying that he is a whistle blower and then he is paying bribe to the accused official," he said. The court termed the offence as serious while allowing the CBI plea for custody of the accused.