After Syndicate Bank chief, businessman lands in CBI net

After Syndicate Bank chief, businessman lands in CBI net

Six days after mysteriously disappearing from his house following investigations into a bribe case involving Syndicate Bank chief S K Jain, businessman Neeraj Singhal landed in the CBI net on Thursday after his anticipatory bail plea was rejected by a court.

Singhal, vice chairman and managing director of Bhushan Steel Ltd, managed to avoid arrest till Saturday, when the CBI raided his house in connection with the Rs 50-lakh bribery scandal involving Jain.

CBI Director Ranjit Sinha was left red-faced when he found out that Singhal had not been arrested despite being present in the house at the time of the raid. The CBI chief had subsequently ordered a probe to find out the reasons behind the botch-up.

A special CBI court of Swarana Kanta Sharma dismissed Singhal’s plea, observing that the offence alleged in the case was serious in nature as it involved a huge amount of public money.

The CBI had on August 2 arrested six persons in the case. Jain was accused of taking a bribe of Rs 50 lakh to increase the credit limit of some companies in violation of banking rules.

The investigative agency has filed two cases against Jain. One for the alleged bribe he received through conduits, and the other for abusing his official position.

“The intercepted conversation also needs to be put to the accused. An employee of applicant Neeraj Singhal, who had taken the alleged bribe amount to Bhopal, is also not yet traced. The co-accused, Purushotam Totlani, is also absconding. The offence in question is serious in nature and requires custodial interrogation,” the judge was quoted as saying by PTI.

The court also said Singhal was one of the key beneficiaries. Sources said the CBI also suspects that Sinha received a Rs 3.5 crore bribe from another company. Investigators are probing this angle, too, even though there is no prima facie evidence.

Jain’s arrest came after the monitoring of his calls for the past six months. The CBI director was directly involved in the case and the moment the issue of handing over bribe was discussed, the official and others were arrested.

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