The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has attached cash worth Rs. 89.68 lakh in a money laundering case involving the nephew of Congress leader and former railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal.
The ED, in a statement, said it has issued a provisional order under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) to freeze the “bribe” money, which according to it was “proceeds of crime”.
The cash was allegedly seized by the CBI from the office of Mr Bansal’s nephew Vijay Singla in 2013 in a bribery and corruption case related to appointments at top positions in the railways.
The ED filed a separate criminal case based on CBI’s FIR and charge sheet against Railway Board Member (Staff) Mahesh Kumar, Vijay Singla, Sandeep Goyal and seven others.
The agency said CBI’s probe found that Mahesh Kumar, a 1975 batch officer of Indian Railway Service of Signal Engineers (IRSSE), was posted as General Manager, Western Railways and he wanted to get himself appointed as Member (Electrical), Railway Board instead of Member (Staff).
“For this, he was in touch with N Manjunath who was further in touch with Sandeep Goyal, a friend of Singla. Singla demanded Rs. 10 crore through Sandeep Goyal from N Manjunath to get Mahesh Kumar posted as Member (Electrical),” the ED said, quoting the CBI probe.
While delivering a token amount to Mr Singla and Mr Goyal, the CBI team raided Mr Singla’s office at Sector 28 in Chandigarh and seized Rs. 89,68,000, it said.
During that time, Mr Bansal was the railway minister and his nephew Vijay Singla was allegedly caught red-handed while accepting a bribe of Rs. 89,68,000.
The ED said its own probe dug out details of the alleged bribery case.
“It is revealed that N Manjunath on behalf of Mahesh Kumar was persuading various railway vendors, manufactures, contractors for making arrangement of bribe amount for promotion of Mahesh Kumar as Member (Electrical) by alluring them that all the contributors would be taken care of/benefited from the desired posting of Mahesh Kumar,” it said.
Investigation found that the first installment of bribe amount was “contributed” by N Manjunath, MV Murli Krishna, Sushil Daga and the Venketeshwara Rail Nirman Pvt Ltd.
“The said amount was routed through the account of various companies/individuals and with assistance of hawala agents,” the ED said, adding that a probe into the matter was underway.