Many pooled money to fund Mahesh’s ‘bribe’

Rail bribery scandal Transcripts show they wanted to benefit once he was appointed as Member (Electrical)

Written by Khushboo Sandhu | Chandigarh | Updated: April 9, 2014 4:50:08 pm

Suspended Railway Board member Mahesh Kumar,the main accused in the Rs 10 crore railways bribery scandal,was allegedly approached by several individuals who were eager to fund him so that he can get a post of his choice. According to transcripts of telephonic conversations recorded by the CBI,several individuals had collected money to enable Mahesh Kumar to pay the Rs 10 crore bribe allegedly to then railways minister Pawan Kumar Bansal’s nephew Vijay Singla for the post of Member (Electrical). The post is considered next to Chairman of the Board in hierarchy and intense lobbying was on for the seat.

The CBI has included the transcripts in the chargesheet it submitted against the 10 accused,including Mahesh Kumar and Singla,on July 2.

The transcripts reveal that most of the accused were arranging money for Mahesh Kumar so that they could benefit from him once he was appointed to the post. Some had allegedly even agreed to give 50 per cent of their share before the appointment and the rest afterwards.

One of the accused,Manjunath,said in a conversation with M V Murli,another accused in the case: “At least for next two years we will be happy if he (Mahesh Kumar) becomes ML (Member Electrical or MS (Member Staff)… he will generate funds…(if) he generates orders for us,that will be more than enough… he will take us as a blessing.”

The transcripts also reveal how the interested individuals tried to ensure that the others did not get a whiff of what was brewing.

In one of the conversations,one of the accused,Ajay Garg,asks Sandeep Goyal,another accused and a Panchkula-based businessman,not to reveal details about the proposed appointment to Rahul Bhandari,the personal secretary of then railways minister.

In the conversation,Garg tells Goyal,“Secretary ka khayal rakhin. Bhandari naal kade vi gal hove ehde baare mein dasna nahi hai. (Take care of the secretary. Whenever you talk to Bhandari,do not reveal any details).”

In another conversation,Goyal while talking to Mahesh Kumar says,“Sir,Vijay ka dobara phone aaya tha ki Rahul se na bilkul secret rakhna hai abhi. Woh bahut against chal raha hai. Zara kalesh chal raha hai koi aur Vijay ka phone aaya tha… Keh raha tha ki sahib ko bata dena us se toh 200 per cent door hi rehna. (Sir,Vijay called again that this should be kept secret from Rahul. He is going against us…there is some problem and Vijay called and asked me to tell you to remain 200 per cent away from Rahul).”

To this Mahesh Kumar replies,“Main us din parson 3 din pehle usse mila. Office wahan par GM conference mein jab who tha na Rahul apna lunch pe. Kehne laga vo appke dilli se CA ke aur Chandigarh se phone aa rahe hain. Toh maine kaha maine toh kisi ko bola hi nahi. Yeh toh bhanak lene ki koshish karta hai. (I met him three days back at GM conference. He said that calls were coming for you from the CA in Delhi and Chandigarh. He was trying to assess the situation.)”

Another transcript reveals a similar conversation wherein Goyal asks Mahesh Kumar to ensure that his name is not revealed to Rahul as it would create “unnecessary problems”.

The rail bribery was unearthed after the CBI conducted raids on May 3 and arrested Singla for accepting a bribe of Rs 90 lakh from Mahesh Kumar.

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