Former Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal's nephew Vijay Singla and nine others, arrested in the Rs 10-crore cash-for-post railway bribery case, will face trial with a special court today framing charges of criminal conspiracy and corruption against them.
Paving the way for the trial, Special CBI Judge Swarana Kanta Sharma framed the charges against the 10 accused under section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC read with provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act and posted the matter for August 25 for commencement of recording of evidence in the case.
After the court framed charges against them, the accused said, "We do not plead guilty and claim trial."
Congress leader Bansal, who resigned as the Railway Minister in May last year after the case came to light, has been arrayed as a prosecution witness by the CBI in its charge sheet filed last year.
"You (Singla) during the period between January 2013 to May 3, 2013 had accepted illegal gratification of Rs 89,68,000 from your co-accused Mahesh Kumar, N R Manjunath, Rahul Yadav, Sameer Sandhir, Sushil Daga, C V Venugopal and M V Murali Krishan for yourself or for any other person as a motive or reward for inducing by the exercise of your personal influence on any public servant for appointing your co-accused Mahesh Kumar as Member (electrical) in Railway Board and thereby you committed an offence under section 9 of Prevention of Corruption Act 1988 and within my cognisance," the judge said.
The court had earlier ordered framing of charges against all the accused, including the then Member (Staff) of Railway Board Mahesh Kumar.
Apart from Kumar and Singla, the court framed charges against Managing Director of Bangalore-based G G Tronics India Pvt Limited N R Manjunath, middlemen Ajay Garg and Sandeep Goyal besides Rahul Yadav, Sameer Sandhir, Sushil Daga, C V Venugopal and M V Murali Krishan.
The matter has now been fixed for August 25 for recording of statements of prosecution witnesses, Vinay Mittal, former Chairman of Railway Board and another official of Ministry of Railways.
The court observed that the accused had prima facie entered into a criminal conspiracy to get Mahesh Kumar appointed as Member(Electrical) in the Railway Board and for that Singla was to be paid Rs 10 crore illegal gratification.
It observed that as per the records placed before it, Rs two crore was to be paid immediately and Kumar had instructed Manjunath to arrange the bribe of Rs two crore through other co-accused.
"You (Kumar) during between January 2013 to May 3, 2013 while working in various capacities, General Manager, western Railways till forenoon of May 1, 2013 and Member (staff) Railway Board in the Ministry of Railways as public servant at various places i.e. Delhi and Mumbai had demanded illegal gratification of Rs 2 crore and had accepted part of it from your co-accused," the judge said.
"You Mahesh Kumar ...by abusing your official position obtained pecuniary advantage to the tune of Rs 89,68,000 from accused N R Manjunath, Rahul Yadav, Sameer Sandhir, Sushil Daga, C V Venugopal and M V Murali Krishan which was delivered on your behalf to Vijay Singla and Sandeep Goyal at Chandigarh and thereby you committed an offence under section 13 (2) read with 13(1)(d) of Prevention of Corruption Act 1988 and within my cognisance," the judge said.
The court, while ordering framing of charges, had said that corruption in the country has reached "unimaginable proportions" and the case revealed a "novel way" of payment of bribe to achieve the aim.
"As I had observed earlier in my order, the culture of 'Sifarish' (recommendation) and right contacts with powerful persons are the only thing which matter today for earning quick money.
"Needless to say, with each changing day, the modus operandi of such corrupt person is also not only changing but the corrupt are becoming more cautious and secretive taking lessons from the previous instances of cases where corrupt officers have been caught and sent for trial," the judge had said.