In its biggest bribe-trap case, the CBI arrested the chief administrative officer (construction) of the Northeast Frontier Railways on Sunday for allegedly receiving Rs one crore for granting favours in awarding lucrative contracts to a private company, officials said.
Mahender Singh Chauhan, a 1985-batch Indian Railways Service of Engineer (IRSE) officer, was arrested from Maligaon in Assam's Guwahati, while two others -- Bhupendra Rawat, an employee of accused company ABCI Infrastructures Private Limited, and Indra Singh -- were apprehended from Uttarakhand's Dehradun, where the bribe amount was allegedly delivered on Chauhan's instructions, they said.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has seized Rs 2.14 crore in cash -- Rs one crore from Dehradun, Rs 54 lakh during searches and Rs 60 lakh paid as bribe previously -- the officials said.
Besides the arrested accused and the company, the agency has booked railway officials Hem Chand Borah (deputy chief engineer), Laxmi Kant Verma (assistant executive engineer) and director of ABCI Infrastructures Private Limited Pawan Baid.
It is alleged that Chauhan (58) had demanded the bribe to show favours to the accused company in awarding contracts for various projects in the Northeast Frontier Railways, 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 a statement.
The agency has alleged that 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 inputs, the CBI laid a trap, deploying its teams at various locations in Uttarakhand and Assam.
One of the teams swooped in after the bribe amount was delivered and the accused were taken into custody. After questioning and searches, Chauhan was also arrested.
CBI teams launched a widespread search operation at 21 locations in five states -- Delhi, Uttarakhand, Tripura, West Bengal and Assam.
The agency has recovered the bribe amount and other incriminating documents related to project contracts of the Northeast Frontier Railways, the statement said.