WB: Colonel, 3 private firm officials arrested in bribery case, sent to CBI custody

The arrest of a senior Army officer attached to the Eastern Command from the city causes embarrassment to the army top brass.

Kolkata: Blowing the lead of corruption in defence procurement within the Indian Army, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has arrested a serving Colonel and three officials of a Pune-based private company in a bribery deal of Rs 1.80 lakhs. The accused, Colonel Shaibal Kumar of planning & engineering branch of the Indian Army, is posted at the Eastern Command headquarters: Fort William in Kolkata.

The three others are Sharat Nath, managing director; Vijay Naidu, director of M/s Xtech Equipments Pvt Ltd and Amit Roy, the Kolkata representative of the private firm. The arrest of a senior Army officer attached to the Eastern Command from the city is rare. It is bound to cause embarrassment to the army top brass.

Sources revealed that three among the four accused, including the Colonel, were arrested from the city on Saturday evening. They were produced at the court which remanded them in CBI custody till June 22. Mr Nath who was arrested by the CBI in Pune is now being brought to Kolkata on a transit remand, sources added.

The CBI's anti corruption branch registered a case on June 17 against the Colonel and the three senior officials of the private firm under sections 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code and section 7, 12 and 13(2) and 13(1)(d) of Prevention of Corruption Act.

According to a CBI statement, the Colonel had demanded a bribe of Rs. 1.80 lakhs from Mr Nath of the private company in connection with the supply of Power Pack Rock Splitters which are used by various field formations of the Army. It elaborated, "The Colonel was alleged to have already demanded and accepted a bribe of Rs 50,000 during February in 2017 and as part of the second installment of the bribe, the Colonel has now accepted Rs 50,000 from the accused company."

The CBI said it tracked the director of the private firm "who had come from Pune to deliver the bribe to the Colonel and nabbed him after the payment of bribe to the Colonel. CBI caught the Colonel and recovered the bribe from his residence."

CBI spokesperson R K Gaur said, "Searches have been conducted in four premises at Pune and two premises at Kolkata. Further investigation is continuing."

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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