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Following the arrest of Vijay Singla, the nephew of railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal while accepting a bribe, activists have demanded an enquiry of the promotion and transfer process of the Indian Railways
Following the arrest of Vijay Singla, the nephew of Railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, activists have demanded an enquiry into the promotion of Mahesh Kumar as member of Railway Board as well as the role played by the minister.
Mumbai-based activist Samir Zaveri has been sending letters to the prime minister and railway minister as well as Railway Board to dismiss Mahesh Kumar for failing to detect several frauds when he was heading the vigilance team at Western Railway in Mumbai.
Similarly, Lucknow-based social activist Dr Nutan Thakur has demanded that in the light of Pawan Bansal’s nephew episode, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) should also enquire into railway officer Mahesh Kumar’s recent promotion to the post of Member, Staff.
In her letter written to director of CBI, prime minister and secretary, ministry of personnel, she has said that now there is an immediate and imminent need to look into Mahesh Kumar’s promotion process from general manager of Western Railways to Member of the Railway Board.
Suggesting to treat the entire episode in two distinct stages—promotion from GM to Member from Staff and attempted change to Member from Electrical, Dr Thakur has demanded to act against all those, including the railway minister, involved in the previous decision-making of promoting Kumar from GM to Member, Railway Board, in case circumvention of rules and foul play is found there.
On Friday, the CBI arrested Vijay Singla, nephew of railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, for allegedly accepting a portion of the Rs90 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.
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 2nd May.
According to Zaveri, Mahesh Kumar as chief of vigilance at Mumbai failed to detect and take any action on several frauds in his jurisdiction. “It is open secret that there is a price for getting selective transfers and promotiona anywhere in the Indian Railways from top to bottom. I had sent several requests through emails with supporting evidence to the President of India, the prime minister and others to investigate into the transfer and posting scams in Rail Protection Force at Central Railway as well. However, there is still no action,” he said.
Zaveri said, during Mahesh Kumar's tenure as head of vigilance at Western Railway, the CBI raided a divisional railway manager (DRM) from Ahmedabad and found Rs80 lakh in cash, one kg of gold and 30 wine bottles (prohibited in Gujarat) subsequently arresting him. Citing media reports, Zaveri claimed the CBI was more active in detecting frauds and arresting railway officials than the WR vigilance department headed by Mahesh Kumar.
Incidentally, Subhodh Jain, general manager of Central Railway, was also promoted recently as member of the Railway Board, Zaveri pointed out.