Citizens' Issues
W Bengal govt opposes CBI probe into chit fund scam

“At this stage any direction for handing over investigation to the CBI would be premature,” the affidavit submitted by the state government before a division bench of the Calcutta High Court claimed

The West Bengal government on Friday opposed a prayer for Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) investigation into the multi-crore chit fund scam, claiming in an affidavit to the Calcutta High Court that at this stage credibility of the investigation by the state police cannot be doubted.

 

“At this stage any direction for handing over investigation to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) would be premature,” the affidavit, submitted before a division bench comprising Chief Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Joymalyo Bagchi, claimed.

 

“The police authorities have acted with promptitude commensurate to the urgency of the situation. There has been no laxity on the part of the state respondents in the matter of investigation,” it said.

 

“The main accused persons have been arrested. At this stage credibility of the investigation cannot be doubted,” the state asserted in its affidavit.

 

Sudipto Sen, the chairman of Saradha Group, was arrested along with two associates from a hotel at Sonamarg in Kashmir and were at present in the custody of the Bidhannagar Police, which is investigating the matter.

 

Opposing the petition, the state claimed that it was politically motivated and therefore not maintainable.

 

The police authority is interrogating the arrested persons and taking necessary action to unearth the entire scheme and modus operandi, it was claimed.

 

Pointing out that apart from Saradha Group, there were more players in the field and a comprehensive strategy was to be taken to cover all such cases, it said that the government has constituted a four-member commission of inquiry headed by Justice (retd) Shyamal Kumar Sen.

 

A special investigation team, headed by the director general of West Bengal Police, has also been formed, it was stated in the report.

 

“The state government has so far undertaken no covert or overt action to shield anybody,” it said denying allegations by the petitioner that efforts are on to shield influential people allegedly involved in the matter.

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Rail minister PK Bansal’s nephew arrested for allegedly accepting Rs90 lakh bribe

Vijay Singla is accused of accepting the money in return for ensuring that Mahesh Kumar, who had been the general manager of Western Railway, would be appointed to the Railway Board—which the ministry announced on May 2

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday arrested Vijay Singla, nephew of railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, for allegedly accepting a portion of a R.90 lakh bribe to ensure the appointment of a Railway Board member.

 

The agency also registered a case against three other people—including the accused member (staff) Mahesh Kumar who had taken up his position on the board only a day earlier—after conducting raids in several cities.

 

Singla, son of Bansal’s sister and one of the leading businessmen in the region, was picked up by a CBI team from New Delhi on Friday evening. He was at his residence at Panchkula, near Chandigarh at the time.

 

Sources from the agency said the Delhi team did not inform their Chandigarh counterparts about the operation before carrying out the arrest.

 

Singla is accused of accepting the money in return for ensuring that Kumar, a 1975 graduate from University of Roorkee who had been the general manager of Western Railway, would be appointed to the Railway Board—which the ministry announced on May 2.

 

A Guinness Book of World records holder for “Largest Route Relay Interlocking”, Kumar had spent nearly four decades in the Indian Railways before being embroiled in this alleged corruption scam.

 

The CBI also named Sandip Goyal and Manjunath, as well as unnamed persons in the corruption case. The agency also carried out raids in Mumbai after learning about the alleged bribes, which apparently gave them sufficient basis to take action against Singla—whose close contacts with the railway minister are certain to be a part of the CBI’s investigation.

 

The agency has detained both Goyal and Manjunath, and are interrogating the two in the hope of gaining more information about the alleged conspiracy to secure a place on the Railway Board, sources said.

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Foodgrain output revised upward by 2% to 255.36 million tonne

Despite upward revision in the Third Advance Estimate released today, foodgrain production will be lower than the previous year's record 259.32 MT on account of the drought in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat and Rajasthan on account of poor monsoon last year

India’s foodgrain production has been revised upwards by over 5 million tonne (MT) to 255.36 MT in 2012-13 crop year from earlier estimates on account of higher output of rice, wheat and coarse cereals, according to the data released by the agriculture ministry.

 

The foodgrain output for 2012-13 crop year (July-June) was projected at 250.14 MT in the second advance estimates released in February.

 

Despite upward revision in the third estimate released today, foodgrain production will be lower than the previous year's record 259.32 MT.

 

This is because of drought in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat and Rajasthan on account of poor monsoon last year.

 

According to 3rd Advance Estimate, rice production has been revised upwards to 104.22 MT for 2012-13, from 101.80 MT in 2nd advance estimate. It is still lower than previous year's record 105.31 MT.

 

Similarly, wheat production has been pegged higher at 93.62 MT in 2012-13 from earlier estimate of 92.3 MT, but is lower than the record 94.88 MT in the previous year.

 

Pulses production, too, has been revised slightly upwards to 18 MT from 17.58 MT in February estimates. In the 2011-12 crop year, pulses output stood at 17.09 MT.

 

The production of coarse cereals has been pegged higher at 39.52 MT in 2012-13, from the earlier estimates of 38.47 MT. In 2011-12 crop year, the coarse cereals output stood at 42.04 MT.

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