The CBI has registered a fresh FIR against Upendra Rai, senior journalist and former editor and CEO of Sahara Media group and Tehelka. Rai has been booked for extortion and criminal conspiracy for allegedly accepting money from a real estate company in Mumbai to bail it out of tax woes by using his contacts in the Income Tax department.
Unnamed officials of the Mumbai I-T office have also been named as accused in the FIR. The agency had arrested Rai on Thursday for allegedly indulging in dubious financial deals on behalf of various shell companies and for obtaining an airport pass that he was not authorised for. In the first FIR, CBI had alleged that Rai’s accounts saw transactions of more than Rs 100 crore during 2017-18, some of which, it said, indicate “pumping of tainted/ill-gotten money into the system”.
In the fresh FIR, the agency has alleged that Rai extorted more than Rs 15 crore from Mumbai real estate firm White Lion Real Estate Developers by threatening to expose the firm’s tax irregularities and offering help in settling its case with the I-T department in Mumbai where he claimed to have contacts. The FIR is based on a complaint by the firm’s director, Ballinderry Singh Malhotra.
The CBI FIR alleged that one Rahul Sharma and former journalist Sanjay Snehi were used by Rai to park his “ill-gotten money”.