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CBI arrests 2 more officials in Northeast Frontier Railway bribery case

·3-min read

New Delhi, Jan 18 (PTI) Widening the net in one of the biggest bribe-trap cases, the CBI has arrested two more senior officials of the Northeast Frontier Railway who were involved with the chief administrative officer (construction) in allegedly seeking Rs one crore from a Guwahati-based firm for granting favours in awarding lucrative contracts to it, officials said on Monday.

The agency arrested Deputy Chief Engineer Hem Chand Borah and Assistant Executive Engineer Laxmi Kant Verma -- posted in Agartala -- after it nabbed Chief Administrative Officer (Construction) Mahender Singh Chauhan on Sunday from Maligaon in Guwahati, where the NFR head office is located.

Besides Chauhan, the CBI arrested his relative Indra Singh and Bhupendra Rawat, an employee of the accused company ABCI Infrastructure Pvt Ltd, from Dehradun where the bribe of Rs one crore was allegedly being delivered, they said.

Along with the five arrested accused, the CBI has booked the company and its director Pawan Baid for criminal conspiracy and bribery under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act, they said.

All the accused are being produced before competent courts on Monday, the agency said.

During searches, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) recovered Rs 18.5 lakh and Rs 6.5 lakh from the premises of Borah and Verma respectively taking the total seized cash to Rs 2.39 crore, they said.

'This includes an alleged bribe of Rs one crore which exchanged hands yesterday...(it) is stated to be one of the biggest bribe money trapped. In addition, Rs 60 lakh was recovered from Dehradun and Rs 54 lakh from Guwahati premises of CAO yesterday. Besides this, there has been recovery of jewellery and documents related to property from this locations,' CBI spokesperson R C Joshi said in a statement on Monday.

The agency has conducted searches at 26 locations spread across the country, including in Delhi, Uttrakhand, Assam, Tripura and West Bengal.

It is alleged that Chauhan (58) had demanded the bribe to show favours to Guwahati-based ABCI Infrastructure Pvt Ltd in awarding contracts for various projects in the Northeast Frontier Railway, the officials said.

'The contractors were allegedly being facilitated in awarding the contracts, processing of subsequent bills, release of payments, etc. by the public functionaries in lieu of illegal gratifications,' CBI spokesperson Joshi said in the statement.

The agency has alleged that accused Pawan Baid, the director of the private company, was in contact with Chauhan in connection with various ongoing projects in the Northeast Frontier region.

'It was also alleged that on his demand, the said Director, through his employee, got delivered bribe of Rs one crore to the relative (private person) of said CAO at his residence in Dehradun,' the statement said.

After getting input, the CBI laid a trap deploying its teams at various locations in Uttarakhand and Assam. The team swooped on the accused after the bribe was exchanged and the accused were taken into custody. After questioning and searches, the officer was also arrested. PTI ABS SMN SMN