The CBI informed both the Ministry of Finance (MoF) and the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) that they were hours away from trapping the Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of a PSU bank in a corruption case.
The Indian Express has learnt that the night before the action on S K Jain (August 1) and other senior officials of Syndicate Bank, both Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and a top official of the PMO were informed about the move, but sources said his name was not revealed.
The successful trap on the bankers followed months of telephonic surveillance on them.
Significantly, the case has been registered weeks after an apex court ruling which has freed the CBI from seeking permission for registering cases against government officials above the rank of joint secretary.
CBI Director Ranjit Sinha confirmed the development to The Indian Express, saying this was the “common practice’’ followed by the agency when top government officials were involved, and, for instance, the Chairman of the Railway Board too was similarly informed about some impending corruption case before the railway recruitment scam.
“We simply took the Finance Ministry and the PMO on board and did not reveal and names,’’ Sinha said. “This is because we did not want any controversy or different versions to appear after the CBI had conducted searches and booked the FIR. We did not disclose any names and neither were asked for names…’’
Sinha added that following the controversy over the FIR booked in the coal block involving former coal secretary P C Parekh, the agency took a very “considered and calculated’’ decision before booking the Syndicate Bank CMD.
“We had all the evidence we wanted and had very good intelligence on payoffs due to telephone surveillance. In the end, we wanted to take the Finance Ministry and the PMO on board too.’’
Birla said her campaign this time is “very similar” to the last time.