Postal chief self-sorts Rs 2 crore

Postal chief self-sorts Rs 2 crore

Biggest single case of bribe-taking in 60 years

Postal chief  self-sorts Rs 2 crore

Manjit Singh Bali. pti

Maharashtra and Goa chief post-master general Manjit Singh Bali was on Wednesday arrested by the CBI which caught him “red-handed” accepting the bribe money in a restaurant in South Mumbai. Bali had allegedly demanded the bribe in exchange of issuing a simple no-objection certificate to a property owner for developing his plot. The complaint with the CBI was lodged by a former woman corporator Rita Shah.

After arresting Bali, the CBI conducted searches at Bali’s South Mumbai residence, seizing Indian currency worth Rs 34 lakh, $10,722, British Sterling Pounds 3,050 and Euro 3,470. The investigating agency is now taking all steps, including legal and administrative, to prise open a locker and check out its contents. “This is the biggest single case of a bribe involving a senior government servant in the last 60 years,” the CBI joint director (Western Region) Rishi Raj Singh said.

Bali is a 1978 batch officer of the Indian Postal Service, and holds the rank of additional secretary to the Central Government. He also owns two expensive cars, a bank locker in Gwalior and a huge cache of liquor.

The CBI officer said said Bali demanded the bribe to issue an NoC for the development of land at Mira-Bhayendar in adjoining Thane district, on the northern outskirts of Mumbai.

“The 2,000 sq mt land is owned by a private builder who had agreed to allot 25 per cent of the land for the construction of a post office. This, however, required an NoC from the postal department,” Singh said. The property owner offered to develop the property and also give 25 percent of it for the post office. Before CBI exposed the corruption case, the Thane civic authorities wrote to the postal authorities to expedite the proposal for the new post office. A former corporator Rita Shah also pursued the matter when she sensed something was amiss.

Arun Dalmiya and Harsh Dalmiya, a father-son duo, who own a consultancy firm in South Mumbai, were the middlemen who dealt with Bali and Shah. According to the CBI, Shah approached Bali in January this year, requesting him to expedite issuing the NoC.

Subsequently, Harsh contacted Shah and asked her to meet him at his office in South Mumbai. “When Shah went to his office, she was surprised to find all the papers she had submitted to the CPMG in Dalmiya’s office. Harsh demanded Rs 2 crore from her, of which Rs 1.50 crore was for Bali, and assured her that the NoC would be quickly issued,” Singh said.

Shah heard him out and but later approached the CBI. The investigating agency then set a trap for Bali. “On Wednesday, Shah met Harsh and Arun and handed over the money to them, who in turn met Bali at a Colaba restaurant in South Mumbai and gave him the money,” the CBI official said. But when Bali collected the money, he was shocked to find CBI sleuths lying in wait.

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