NEW DELHI: The CBI has booked seven railway employees and a private company, Bhartia Infra Projects Ltd., in a Rs 60 crore bribery case related to projects in the North East Frontier Railway zone during 2016-23, officials said on Tuesday. After registering the case, the biggest of its kind in recent times, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) conducted searches at 16 places in Assam, Tripura, Manipur and Delhi at the premises of the accused officers and the company.
The searches led to the recovery of incriminating documents related to the case and acquisition of property by the accused, the officials said.
In its FIR, the CBI has named as accused the then deputy chief engineer, construction, Rampal; the then deputy chief engineer AXENs Jitendra Jha and BU Laskar; and the then senior superintendent engineers Rituraj Gogoi, Dhiraj Bhagawat, Manoj Saikia and Mithun Das, besides Bhartia Infra Projects Ltd., the officials said.
The matter came to light after the CBI arrested Santosh Kumar, senior section engineer of the North East Frontier Railway zone, in a Rs 2 crore bribery case in February last year and searched 19 locations, including the premises of Bhartia Infra Projects Ltd. (BIPL), they said.
“During the search conducted at the official premises of BIPL at Guwahati, a statement/ledger in the form of group summary of Silchar office for the period from May 1, 2016 to December 30, 2023 was seized by CBI,” the FIR stated.
The list contained the details of several public servants and railway officials who were associated with the projects of BIPL and had been paid bribes by the company. These officials received bribes in cash as well as in the bank accounts of their relatives between May 1, 2016 and July 31, 2023 as a “reward for smoothly clearing bills”, it said.
An analysis of the material gathered during the searches last year revealed that BIPL allegedly paid regular bribes worth more than Rs 60 crore to railway officials, according to CBI officials.
The probe found that the company utilised three bank accounts — two in State Bank of India and one in HDFC — for paying the bribes, the officials said.
The company got six major projects from North East Frontier Railway during 2016-22 which included the construction of a station yard, protection of tunnel portals, and construction of a single line tunnel, RCC retaining wall and foundation of a major bridge on the Barak river, they said.