The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the railway bribery scandal has indicated that rules regarding eligibility criteria were flouted by the railway ministry to appoint Mahesh Kumar as the Railway Board member. Kumar, who has been arrested from Mumbai and is in CBI custody, allegedly paid bribe to get appointed to the Board.
The CBI claims that preliminary examination of files pertaining to Kumar’s promotion as Railway Board member (Staff) from General Manager (Western Railways) that CBI recovered from the railway ministry shows that Kumar’s name was recommended despite his service records were not meeting the required criteria for the key post. In a bid to further dig it out, the CBI is also looking into the observations made by the Cabinet Committee on Appointments which is headed by the prime minister.
“After examining service records of Kumar for his promotion to the Railway Board, we have come across that certain compromises were made by the ministry. In fact, his lack of seniority was overlooked while recommending Kumar’s name for promotion. We are taking opinion from the concerned department about it and once it gets legal substance, we will put it on record,” said a senior CBI official, involved in the probe.
As more facts are emerging from the investigation of Kumar’s case, the investigating officer is scrutinising major appointments and transfer in the railway ministry after Pawan Bansal took over as the railway minister.
“We have asked all the files related to transfer and postings of the railway ministry after October 2012, as we suspect it is a much bigger and deeper conspiracy,” the official added.
The CBI also maintains that questioning railway minster Bansal is imminent, as his private secretary Rahul Bhandari was regularly in touch with Vijay Singla, the minister’s nephew. But CBI said that the agency has to inform the prime minister before questioning the railway minister. The CBI officials are closely monitoring taped conversation of over 80 hours between Bhandari and Singla over a period of three months.