Railway bribery gate: Bribe money was layered via different companies to show as biz deals

By Anand Singh
New Delhi, Dec 12 (IANS)
The accused named in the 2013 railway bribery for post scam was layering funds through multiple companies and persons to show them as normal business transactions, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has found in its investigation.
IANS has viewed the chargesheet filed by the ED in the 2013 bribe for posting case.
The ED said, “The statements of the witnesses recorded clearly established the intents of the accused persons and their involvement in the schedule offences and generation of proceeds of crime by way of layering and integration of funds through a number of entities and persons.
The ED had filed a chargesheet in the railway bribery case in October this year against IRSSE officer Mahesh Kumar, senior Congress leader and former Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal’s nephew Vijay Singla, N. Manjunath, Sandeep Goyal, Ajay Garg, Sandhir, Sushil Daga, C.V. Venugopal, M.V. Murali Krishna and Venketeshwara Rail Nirman Pvt Ltd under sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
The ED has also demanded punishment for those named in the chargesheet and confiscation of their assets. The ED case is based on the FIR and chargesheet filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) against Mahesh Kumar, Singla, Goyal and seven other accused persons.
The ED said that Mahesh Kumar and Goyal in their statements have stated that the purpose of their meeting at Hotel Taj in Mumbai and Hotel Lalit in Delhi was to discuss a marriage proposal.
“However, as per the CBI chargesheet, the outcome of the meeting at Hotel Taj was shared by Goyal with Garg. And Garg in his statement to the ED stated that Goyal had informed him that Mahesh Kumar was trying to become Member (Electrical) in railway board and Goyal was in touch with Manjunath who wanted to get Mahesh Kumar posted as Member (Electrical),” the ED claimed.
“There remains no doubt that the meetings at Hotel Taj and Hotel Lalit were not only to discuss a marriage proposal, but also for planning of appointment of Mahesh Kumar as Member (Electrical) and the bribes amount to be paid,” the ED claimed.
It further said that Manjunath, Venugopal and Krishna in their statements have claimed that their contribution amounts were business transactions. “However, the persons through which the funds were routed and arranged at Delhi in cash have confirmed in their statements that these payments were arranged on the request of the accused persons. However, these payments were adjusted by them in their books of accounts,” it alleged.
The ED further alleged that the banking transactions made by the accused persons were made to mobilise the funds through “layering” by using a number of accounts of entities and persons and finally integrated the funds in the form of “cash” at Delhi.
“Statements of witnesses clearly establishes the modus-operandi of the accused and purpose of transactions through a number of entities. Later on, the funds layered were shown by these persons as business transactions but the same were proceeds of crime,” it added.
The ED also said that the money was layered in as many as nine companies before being handed to the people who then took it to Chandigarh.
The statements were recorded by the ED in 2017 and 2019.
The CBI had caught Singla red-handed while accepting a bribe of Rs 89.68 lakh for the favourable posting of Mahesh Kumar. The ED in July this year had questioned Bansal for several hours in Chandigarh in connection with the case.
Bansal had to step down from the post amid the accusations.
In May last year, the ED had attached the Rs 89 lakh amount which the CBI seized from the office of Bansal’s nephew Singla in 2013 in the corruption case related to appointments at top positions in the railways, when the Congress leader was the Union Railway Minister in the United Progressive Alliance-2 regime.
Singla demanded Rs 10 crore through Sandeep Goyal from N. Manjunath to get Mahesh Kumar posted as Member (Electrical), the ED had said, quoting the CBI probe.
(Anand Singh can be contacted at Anand.s@ians.in)

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