CBI can’t build strong case against swindlers for want of witnesseshttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/cbi-cant-build-strong-case-against-swindlers-for-want-of-witnesses/

CBI can’t build strong case against swindlers for want of witnesses

A fake CBI officer and a deal broker,who allegedly duped over 50 people across the country last year — including film producer Rakesh Roshan — and amassed over Rs 30 crore,have put the CBI in a sticky situation.

A fake CBI officer and a deal broker,who allegedly duped over 50 people across the country last year — including film producer Rakesh Roshan — and amassed over Rs 30 crore,have put the CBI in a sticky situation. With just four complainants,including Roshan,convinced to pursue the case against Ashwini Kumar and Rajesh Ranjan,the agency is finding it difficult to file a chargesheet against them.

After spending a few months behind bars,the accused have been out on bail. Soon after his release,Kumar challenged the application of the Prevention of Corruption Act,under which they were booked,claiming none of them were public servants,a prerequisite under the Act. The application is pending before the Bombay High Court.

“We have an account of those cheated by these men. But only four have so far come ahead and given their statements,” said a senior CBI officer.

Officers attribute this to the nature of work the “victims” are involved in. Most of those allegedly duped are businessmen with dubious backgrounds,said officers. “If any of them come to us and narrate the story,it is as good as declaring their ill-gotten money,” explained an officer.

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In a matter of a few years,the accused managed to amass over Rs 30 crore — 30 kg gold and at least 20 flats across the country,along with cash stashed in different banks. Though the property has been seized by the CBI,the agency does not have enough evidence and witnesses to claim this money. The duo,well-versed with the CBI’s style of operation,had allegedly bought a car fitted with a beacon and also had visiting cards with the CBI logo embossed on them. On several occasions,they also allegedly used the agency’s letterhead. While Kumar has not cleared his Class X,Ranjan was a known face in film circles,said a CBI officer.

On several occasions,the CBI had put out advertisements and stated through the media that it was not planning to probe the roles of those who paid bribes. However,this clearly has not assured the ‘victims’. “In court,we can only account for a few lakhs. If we fail to prove that the impersonators have threatened people and accumulated this property,we will have to hand it over to the accused after the case is disposed of. We have been in talks with many people and are trying to convince as many as possible to approach us,” said a senior officer in New Delhi.

Last August,Roshan had approached the CBI claiming that he had paid Rs 50 lakh to the duo soon after his film Kites released. Rajesh and Bina Shah,who own Spectrum Entertainment,had filed a case against Roshan in connection with the film.

Although the suit was dismissed,when Roshan was approached by Ranjan,he allegedly assumed a new case was registered by the CBI.

According to Roshan,Ranjan approached him and claimed that the CBI was investigating some deals that he and his family were involved in. Ranjan then introduced Roshan to Kumar as a Superintendent deputed in Mumbai CBI. Roshan allegedly paid Rs 50 lakh to the duo. But soon,Roshan suspected something fishy and approached the agency.

Similarly,the duo approached many businessmen,political leaders,actors and producers making similar claims.