Top rail officials meet to avoid bribery case taint

Faced with prospect of scrutiny by CBI,the officers went into a huddle.

Written by Avishek G Dastidar | New Delhi | Published: May 10, 2013 2:45:30 am

Faced with the prospect of scrutiny by the CBI in all major appointments in the Railways Ministry in recent years,top-level officers went into a huddle Thursday to distance themselves from the bribery case and suspended Mahesh Kumar.

An emergency meeting of the governing council of the Federation of Railway Officers’ Association,which represents Group A officers,saw fireworks over secretary general Shubranshu’s letter to the Cabinet Secretary alleging “wrongdoings” in top-level railway appointments. Some Executive Directors said the letter cast doubt over all top appointments and that amounted to the federation implicating its own officers. Faced with their ire,the secretary general reportedly said those were his personal views.

A general body meeting has now been called on May 24 where the officers would discuss how to distance themselves from the ongoing case. “Railway officers are getting demoralised with the news of the probe. All officers should not be linked with the case of Mahesh Kumar. Also,the Electrical directorate should not be viewed as a plump post because our annual allocation is only around Rs 2,400 crore from the total Railways budget of over Rs 63,000 crore,” said R K Bhatnagar,Adviser (Electrical) in the Railway Board and president of the association.

The association also joined hands with some other unions to draft a joint statement that termed Pawan Kumar Bansal “an able and experienced administrator”. It pledged support to Bansal’s “future endeavours to bring about healthy changes in Railways”. Bansal did not attend Thursday’s Cabinet meeting amid speculation over his imminent resignation.

The statement is seen largely as an initiative of the Congress-backed National Federation of Indian Railwaymen.

The largest union of the Railways,the All India Railwaymen’s Federation,on the other hand,had demanded Bansal’s resignation on Wednesday.

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