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RAW man held on bribe charge,says other officers also involved

A senior officer of the Research and Analysis Wing,Dr A S Narayan Rao — arrested for allegedly taking bribe from a Chennai manufacturer...

Written by Utkarsh Anand | New Delhi |
February 4, 2009 12:05:04 am

A senior officer of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW),Dr A S Narayan Rao — arrested for allegedly taking bribe from a Chennai manufacturer — hinted before a city court on Tuesday that several other officers of India’s premier intelligence-gathering agency had also accepted the hospitality of this company during a recent trip to Chennai.

Rao,a scientist with RAW’s technical division,was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Monday night. He was picked up from a hotel in Karol Bagh,while allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs 1 lakh from a senior official of the southern company,Titanium. Rao had allegedly demanded Rs 8 lakh for an export licence the firm required to send goods worth Rs 4.5 crore to Qatar,the CBI told the court.

Monday’s amount was the first payment,it said.

The CBI contended that Rao was in constant touch with the firm and had also threatened the complainant — the firm’s chief managing director — of not processing the file if he did not pay up. The CBI further said the company picked up Rao’s hotel bill when he stayed at Chennai’s Le Meridian in mid January.

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To this,Rao told the court: “The complainant (Titanium) had borne the miscellaneous expenses of Le Meridian at Chennai not only for my stay but also for other officials who were staying there.” This statement by Rao,CBI sources said,has bolstered the probe agency’s argument that there is a “racket of officials involved in minting money by abusing their positions”.

CBI officer S Bhattacharya,who is monitoring the investigation,told the judge that Rao and other officers had not paid the hotel expenses. Bhattacharya then requested Additional Sessions Judge P K Saxena to grant three days of police remand to investigate the probable role of other RAW officials in taking illegal gratification. The court granted the remand.

In his defence,Rao told ASJ Saxena he was being implicated because the company did not get the export licence. Rao said: “An official of the company forcefully put money in my pocket and there was no independent witness with the CBI to prove the case.”

When Bhattacharya reminded him about the stay at Le Meridian,Rao — an officer of Director level — shot back saying he was not the only one who had accepted the company’s hospitality.

The CBI then told the judge: “This is why we want his custodial interrogation. We have reasons to suspect others were involved too.”

Another city court on Saturday had declared RAW’s Rabinder Singh as proclaimed offender. Singh,an officer in the rank of a joint secretary,reportedly defected to America in 2004 and has remained elusive ever since.

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