Union food and consumer affairs minister Ram Vilas Paswan who is under the CBI scanner for the Bokaro Steel Plant recruitment scam visited agency chief Ranjit Sinha’s 2, Janpath official residence in March.
The daily entry register maintained at 2, Janpath, CBI House, and accessed by dna mentions the name of Paswan in its first entry along with Mithlesh, a regular at the chief’s residence, whose exact identity is still unclear. The entry on March 16 reads Mithlesh+Ram Vilas Paswan in DL-3C-BD-7216. Paswan spent a good 46 minutes at the CBI chief’s residence between 9:05am and 9:51am.
The CBI had begun investigating Ram Vilas Paswan’s role in the Bokaro Steel Plant recruitment scam, which it unearthed in January this year. In February, the agency claimed letters of recomendations had been shot off by Ram Vilas Paswan for the recruitment. And by the end of February, it was clear that Paswan would be questioned by the CBI. On February 26, Paswan announced his joining the NDA. Exactly 16 days after joining the NDA, the meeting between Paswan and Ranjit Sinha happened.
The timing of his visit is relevant as it happened just a little over three weeks before the Lok Sabha elections were scheduled to take place. The CBI raided some 30 places in January relating to the Bokaro job recruitment scam. It also registered two cases pertaining to the alleged iregularities in the Bokaro Steel Plant’s recruitment of middle and junior-level management staff. However, as of now the CBI has not questioned Paswan in connection with the scam.
dna tried to reach Paswan for two days, visited his residence, left a written note there, and also sent him an email, but he didn’t respond.
Another political visitor, Subodh Kant Sahay, former tourism minister, who is also under the agency’s scanner visted the CBI House. According to the daily diary entry, number 11 on February 13 mentions the name of Congress leader Subodh Kant Sahay in Hindi, arriving in a car, DL-1CP-2195. The car is registered in the name of Tarun Kumar Sahay, B-19/1 Sham Vihar, Phase II, Goda Dairy Road, Najafgarh. The duration of Sahay’s visit was 25 minutes from 8:50pm to 9:15pm.
The CBI was investigating Sahay’s alleged connection with SKS Ispat and Power Limited, against which it registered three cases in August in connection with the coal scam. His brother Sudhir Kant Sahay, was an executive director on the company’s board.
In 2012, speculation was rife that the initials of the company, SKS, actually stood for Subodh Kant Sahay. However, the CBI has neither named Sahay nor his brother in the FIRs registered last month. The coal blocks were de-allocated by the government on the recommendation of the Inter-Ministerial Group.
Some of the other high-profile visitors of 2 Janpath, who are being investigated by the agency include Congress MP Vijay Darda and his brother Mahendra Darda who visited the house at least 13 times between February and May. The CBI has already filed a closure report in one of the cases involving Darda in the coal scam.
Similary another regular visitor at the CBI House was Mahendra Nahata, the MD of HFCL. CBI had questioned Nahata in the high-profile 2G scam case. Nahata visted the CBI chief’s residence 86 times in the past 15 months.