Bribe claim against minister

Bribe claim against minister

 Alok Verma. PTI file photo

Businessman Satish Sana has made the sensational claim of giving a bribe of a "few crores of rupees" to Minister of State for Coal Haribhai Parthibhai Chaudhary on October 20 while he was being "interviewed" by a CBI official following his complaint against Special Director Rakesh Asthana.

Sana, a Hyderabad-based businessman, has alleged in a complaint to the CBI on October 15 that he was harassed by officials at the behest of Asthana and handed over bribe to him while investigating controversial meat exporter Moin Qureshi. Incidentally, Asthana had claimed that Director Alok Verma took bribe from Sana to save him in the same case.

The claims of Sana form part of a petition filed by CBI official M K Sinha, who was supervising the probe against Asthana, in Supreme Court on Monday while challenging his transfer out of Delhi. Chaudhary was not available for his comments.

The original complaint did not figure the claims on the Minister while during his examination on October 20, Sana made these additional claims. On October 20, he "stood by the contents of his complaint" and made the fresh claims.

"Sometime in first fortnight of June 2018, a few crores of rupees was paid" to Chaudhary, the petition said quoting Sana's claim.

As per Sana, the minister had "intervened with the senior officers of CBI through the office of the Minister of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pension" to whom, the CBI Director reports to. "The money was paid through one Vipul of Ahmedabad. These facts were disclosed by Sana to me on October 20 in the forenoon. I immediately reported the matter to the Director and the AD (Additional Director A K Sharma)," Sinha said in his petition.

The official claimed discreet enquiries were conducted and a source said that there were calls intercepted by "another central agency" in the first fortnight of June where an Andhra MLA K Laxma Reddy and Sana purportedly talking about sending "money to the tune of Rs one or two crore".

"It is most respectfully submitted that the applicant (Sinha) is aware of the information only to the extent that the bribe money was allegedly paid to the minister only and applicant is not privy to any information whether any part of that bribe money was paid to any other higher-up in the CBI. However the applicant verily believes that if this lead is diligently pursued, the truth would eventually come to light," the petition said.