The CBI on Friday arrested A M Sahay, Commissioner Central Excise and Customs of Kolkata, for allegedly accepting a bribe of over Rs 1 crore through a hawala channel. Besides Sahay, the CBI also arrested Prateek Bhalotia, R Bhalotia, Sandeep and Jasraj in an operation carried out in Kolkata and Mumbai, the agency said.
The agency is also probing the alleged involvement of a woman conduit working for the commissioner. CBI director Ranjit Sinha monitored the probe from the New Delhi headquarters. A tip-off alerted the agency that Rs 1.10 crore was being exchanged, allegedly as bribe for clearing a Mumbai-based company in an excise case.
Using a method similar to old hawala techniques, the number of a Rs 10 currency note was used as the code between the hawala operator and the person who was to take the money. The commissioner allegedly also asked the company to give a consultancy job to a woman friend and to hike her salary to account for the bribe money.
The CBI conducted searches and allegedly recovered another Rs 60 lakh from Kolkata, sources said, adding that the money was also a part payment towards the bribe for the Commissioner, the CBI said. The agency, which will seek remand of all the accused, suspects they may have been involved in past cases as well.