The CBI on Thursday opposed the bail plea of a Lieutenant Colonel and an alleged middleman, arrested in connection with a transfer racket at the Army Headquarters here in which officers allegedly paid lakhs of rupees to manipulate their postings.
The central probe agency told special CBI judge Naresh Kumar Malhotra that the probe was at the initial stage and Lt Colonel Ranganathan Suvramani Moni, posted in the personnel division of the Army, and Gaurav Kohli can tamper with evidence if they were granted bail. The court fixed July 21 for argument on the matter and extended the judicial custody of the accused till July 22. The two were produced before the court after the expiry of their judicial custody.
Public prosecutor Shampa Tikait told the court that the CBI was investigating whether there was a big racket involved in the matter and this was not the right stage to grant bail. In their bail applications, both the accused persons had claimed that they were no more required for custodial interrogation and no damage would be caused to the probe if they were granted the bail.
According to the CBI, an FIR was registered against Moni, a Hyderabad-based Army officer identified only as Purshottam, Bengaluru-based barracks and stores officer (BSO) S Subhas and Kohli for various offences including criminal conspiracy and corruption.
The bribe was paid through hawala channels, the CBI claimed in its FIR. It alleged that Moni entered into a criminal conspiracy with Kohli and Purshottam, working in the engineer stores, for influencing transfer of various officers. Purshottam allegedly contacted army officers who were either posted to different field formations or faced a transfer and wanted to be posted to a preferred location.
He used to contact Kohli, who was allegedly close to senior officers in the personnel division of the Army headquarters here, and used these contacts to transfer the officers for money, the FIR said. It claimed Purshottam requested Kohli to pursue the posting of one D S R K Reddy and Subhas in return of a bribe. Both wanted to be posted from Bengaluru to Secunderabad or Visakhapatnam.
Moni assured Subhas that he would get him transferred through senior officers in the Army headquarters against payment, it claimed. Subhas allegedly delivered Rs 5 lakh as bribe to Kohli through hawala operators.