The CBI on Friday arrested the vice-president of Soma Enterprises, P R Rao, for allegedly trying to offer a Rs 2-crore bribe to its DIG-ranked officer to clear a pending probe against the company, officials said. Rao was taken into custody following the arrest of MHA official Dheeraj Singh and a private person, Dinesh Chand Gupta. Singh and Gupta were arrested on Thursday morning, they said.
This is not the first tryst of Gupta with the CBI. In 2013, he allegedly attempted to bribe a CBI Superintendent of Police Vivek Dutt. Later, in 2017, Dutt was discharged by the Special CBI court as no evidence was found against him, but the court ordered framing of charges against Gupta, they said.
It is alleged that Singh, posted in the Police-I Division of the Ministry of Home Affairs, had called CBI Deputy Inspector General Asra Garg for a meeting where he offered Rs 2 crore as bribe to settle the matter against Soma Enterprises. The offer was made on behalf of Rao, officials said. Garg, a Tamil Nadu-cadre IPS officer, apprised his seniors and filed a complaint regarding the offer, they said.
In his complaint dated September 11, 2019, Garg, the DIG of the anti-corruption branch of CBI, alleged that Singh, whom he knew, contacted him to say he wants him to meet a person. Garg said Singh met him a few days ago and introduced Gupta, a representative of Soma Enterprises, to him.
Singh and Gupta told Garg that a CBI inquiry is under way against the company and they wanted his help in settling the matter in the company's favour for which they expressed readiness to pay Rs 2 crore as illegal gratification, the officer said in the complaint. The agency swung into action after getting the complaint and the case was handed over to a different unit where an inspector was deputed to verify the claims.
As part of the verification process, Garg was asked to call the duo for a meeting during which an independent witness armed with tapping devices would accompany him, posing as his driver. The call from the officer was recorded and Singh and Gupta were called at the CNG station near the agency headquarters at 11pm on Wednesday night.
Garg reached there at 11.15pm in his official vehicle along with the witness as his driver, and the verification officer was sitting in the rear of the vehicle. Seeing Garg, the duo sat inside the vehicle where Gupta offered Rs 2 crore to settle the matter against Soma Enterprises.
After nearly 20 minutes of conversation, Gupta stepped out of the vehicle and Singh told the officer he was ready to make an upfront payment of Rs 10 lakh, kept at his residence. Gupta then made a phone call to vice-president Rao and made him speak to the officer during which he confirmed Gupta was speaking on his behalf and he agreed with the offer.
The team returned to the headquarters with the recording of the meeting and phone conversation with Rao. The CBI arrested the duo on Thursday and recovered the alleged bribe amount from them while Rao was nabbed on Friday.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)