The hotelier being chased by the CBI for allegedly arranging a Rs 50 lakh bribe for Syndicate Bank CMD S K Jain had also bailed out two prominent accused in the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board (MPPEB) scam.
Purushottam Totlani allegedly arranged the bribe that was delivered through Vijay Pahuja to the Godha brothers, who accepted it on behalf of Jain, their brother-in-law. While the CMD, Vineet Godha, Puneet Godha and Pahuja have been arrested, Totlani, who is known to be well connected in Bhopal, is still at large.
Though the CBI has raided his business premises and possible hideouts, it has failed to nab Totlani, who dabbles in several businesses. He is considered crucial to the CBI investigation as his arrest would uncover the money trail and the alleged hawala racket in the Syndicate Bank case.
On July 25, Totlani had bailed out former vice-chairman of the Madhya Pradesh Jan Abhiyan Parishad (MPJAP) Ajay Shankar Mehta, who spent two months in jail after being arrested by the Special Task Force in connection with illegal recruitment of candidates for the post of police constables.
Registered as a society, the MPJAP works as a bridge between the state government and NGOs. While the chief minister is the ex-officio chairman of the society, its executive body has several top bureaucrats as members.
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When contacted, Mehta admitted Totlani had bailed him out, but said he came to know about it only after being released from prison. His lawyer said there was nothing wrong in Totlani bailing out his client. “He must have bailed out so many people but that does not make them criminals,” said the lawyer, who did not wish to be named.
Totlani had also bailed out Nitin Mohindra, the former chief system analyst of MPPEB, in a case registered by the economic offences wing of the state police.
Congress chief spokesman K K Mishra alleged Totlani’s association with RSS and BJP activists as well as bureaucrats was well known and by bailing out two main accused in the MPPEB scam, he had only confirmed the link.
The ruling BJP is yet to comment on the case in which some of the accused, including former Congress spokesman and legal cell in-charge Vineet Godha, have links cutting across political lines.