A special CBI court in Ahmedabad on July 23 refused to grant bail to the deputy director of Enforcement Directorate in Ahmedabad and a Delhi Development Authority (DDA) official, who were arrested in a bribery case.
Deputy Director Purna Kam Singh and Assistant Director Bhuvnesh Kumar of the ED in Ahmedabad were arrested by the CBI Gandhinagar on July 2 for accepting Rs 5 lakh as advance of the total bribe amount of Rs 75 lakh. The CBI was investigating an ED case involving a Rs 104-crore fraud on Bank of Baroda, Kapadvanj Branch, by a steel company.
HM Industrial Private Limited Kapadvanj, which is into processing of castor oil and production of steel pipes since 2016, and its directors, including one Paresh Patel, are being probed by the CBI, Gandhinagar, under the provisions of IPC and Prevention of Corruption Act for defrauding the bank.
ED Ahmedabad was also simultaneously investigating the allegations under the PMLA, for which Patel and his sons were called to the ED office in April and May. On both these days, Purna Kam Singh, was assisted by Bhuvnesh Kumar, for recording of statements.
The complaint of demand of bribe filed by Patel alleged that on June 18, Singh beat up Patel and his son, threatening them to attach their properties unless they paid Rs 75 lakh. As per Patel’s complaint, on June 26, Bhuvnesh Kumar made a WhatsApp call on the complainant’s mobile and discussed about payment of an advance amount of Rs 5 lakh.
In his bail application, Singh submitted that he suffers from asthma and with the ongoing Covid pandemic, it was vulnerable for him to be in judicial custody.
However, CBI opposed Singh’s bail application, primarily on the ground that he has not cooperated with the investigation and also purchased a flat in Delhi.
The court during the proceedings also found that the middleman who was used to pay the advance of the bribe amount, had revealed to the CBI that he was acting on the instructions of one Ravikant Tiwari, a friend of Singh. Tiwari, working as an assistant engineer with the Delhi Development Authority, and named as an accused in the case, was also refused bail by the same court on July 23.
The court noted that the co-accused assistant director of ED Bhuvnesh Kumar destroyed mobile handset when CBI apprehended both the accused at ED office.
“ED officers are expected to perform their duties with honesty, great integrity and sincerity like all other government officers as their actions will protect the country from big financial scams… The investigation is at a crucial and initial stage and there is likelihood that there may be a larger conspiracy of other public servants and private persons… The accused may give threats to the witnesses if he is released,” the court noted, rejecting Singh’s bail application.