CMD bribery: CBI to inquire non-arrest of steel baron

CMD bribery: CBI to inquire non-arrest of steel baron

CMD bribery: CBI to inquire non-arrest of steel baron

CBI Director Ranjit Sinha has ordered an internal inquiry after his team did not arrest Vice Chairman of Bhushan Steel Neeraj Singhal during searches at his residence in the Syndicate Bank bribery case despite his clear instructions to pick him up.

"We have ordered an internal inquiry into non-arrest of Neeraj Singhal by our team," Sinha told reporters here today.

When the CBI team reached Singhal's residence here on Friday to carry out searches in connection with alleged bribe of Rs 50 lakh given to Syndicate Bank Chairman cum Managing Director S K Jain, he was present there, CBI sources said.

Despite directions from the CBI Chief, the team returned from his residence without arresting him after giving notice under section 160 of CrPC asking Singhal to appear before the agency on Saturday, they said.

The sources said soon after the team left, Singhal allegedly escaped and has not been arrested till now despite repeated attempts by CBI which is hot on his trail.
Singhal has filed an anticipatory bail application in a local court which will come for hearing tomorrow.

The sources said following the incident an internal inquiry has been ordered to find out why the orders from CBI Director himself were not followed by the team concerned and that if needed disciplinary action could not be initiated.

Another middleman, a realtor Purushottam Totlani has also not been arrested.
Furthering the probe into the bribery scam, CBI is looking into all the loans disbursed under Jain's tenure. The bad loans, where relaxation is given to a borrower in contravention of the rules, are also under the scanner of the agency.

CBI sources said Jain allegedly took Rs 50 lakh in bribe from Bhushan Steel for not declaring loans of nearly Rs 100 crore as non-performing assets. A similar deal was struck with Prakash Industries also, but the alleged bribe is still being traced, the sources added.

They said the agency has arrested nine persons in connection with the bribery scandal, including Jain, who was suspended from the CMD's post by the government yesterday.

Jain has allegedly prevented loans of over Rs 100 crore on Bhushan Steel and Prakash Industries from being declared as non-performing assets, agency sources said.

CBI has also alleged that Jain used to negotiate directly with the companies on the bribe amount and, once the deal was struck, utilised hawala channels to receive the money, the sources said.

They alleged that once the bribe amount was agreed upon, the company used to pay a hawala operator who forwarded the payment to other businessmen. These businessmen would finally make the payment to the brothers-in law of Jain in Mumbai who, too, have been arrested.