CBI today recovered over Rs one crore in cash from three properties of an Environment Ministry official, who was arrested along with a middleman for allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs seven lakh for pushing clearance for a cement firm. Deputy Director in the Ministry Neeraj Kumar Khatri was arrested late last night while allegedly accepting bribe from a middle man Chinmaya Shri Chandan for arranging mining clearance for a Odisha based-firm Chariot Group, CBI sources said.
During questioning, CBI came to know about his three properties in Haryana--two in Gurgaon and one in Rohtak. The agency carried out searches at these properties and recovered Rs 82.5 lakh in cash from Gurgaon and over Rs 21 lakh from Rohtak, they said.
The agency has booked Khatri, Chandan and his father N Shri Chandan, both allegedly acting under the garb of their consultancy form S S Environics Pvt Limited under relevant sections of Prevention of Corruption Act and IPC section relating to criminal conspiracy.
They alleged the Chariot Group wanted clearance for its Raiboga Mines at Birmitrapur in Sundargarh, Odisha. The issue is said to be coming as agenda item number one before the screening committee meeting today.
Repeated phone calls to Chariot group's headquarter did not result in any response as the receptionist maintained that no official was available. The mails sent on the address given on their website also bounced back. The company had allegedly hired S S Environics to get the clearance.
The sources said CBI is planning to question other officials of the Environment Ministry, who were part of the screening committee, headed by a Joint Secretary level official, which grants clearances to mining projects.