Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Posted at: Jun 11, 2019, 8:10 AM; last updated: Jun 11, 2019, 8:10 AM (IST)

Bribery case: CBI opposes plea of building firm staffer

Says recording of accused being scrutinised so can’t grant bail

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 10

The CBI today opposed the bail application of one of the accused in the Rs 1.30-lakh bribery case. In the bail plea, Akhand Raj Singh, an employee of Nagarjuna Construction Company Ltd, Bathinda, said he was falsely implicated and he had no role to play in the case. The matter will now come up for hearing on July 3.

In its reply, the CBI stated that the custody of the accused was required as investigation was under process. The CBI also stated that the recording of conversations of all accused was being scrutinised and the accused should not be granted bail at this stage. The CBI submitted that there were apprehensions of more people involved in the case and prayed for dismissal of the bail application.

Earlier, the Special CBI Court had stayed the arrest of Venkat Ramaiya, Deputy General Manager (DGM) of the construction company, till July 3.

On May 31, the CBI had arrested five persons — Deputy Chief Labour Commissioner Mahesh Chand Sharma and Labour Enforcement Officer Vivek Naik, both posted in Chandigarh, Gurmeet Sidhu and Munish Garg, partners of Advantage HR Solutions, Bathinda, and Akhand Raj Singh — in the bribery case.

The CBI had information that some persons were acting as middlemen between industrialists, contractors and government officials. They used to negotiate and collect illegal gratification from industrialists and contractors in lieu of extending favours to them by facilitating relief in inspections carried out in their establishments.

Gurmeet Sidhu and Munish Garg were acting as middlemen between Mahesh Chand Sharma, Vivek Naik and other unknown officers of the Labour Department. It was alleged that they used to collect Rs 30,000 each from private parties on a quarterly basis for allowing them to manipulate provisions related to compliance of the EPF Act and labour laws.

After recording telephonic conversations, the CBI had laid a trap and caught both partners of the HR firm and the employee of the construction firm for giving a bribe of Rs 1.30 lakh to the enforcement officer, who accepted the bribe on behalf of the Deputy Chief Labour Commissioner.

What had happened

According to the CBI, Labour Enforcement Officer Vivek Naik had conducted an inspection on the premises of Nagarjuna Construction Company Ltd in Bathinda on May 8. Naik detected irregularities in the records relating to compliance of labour laws and provisions of the EPF. The same day, Akhand Raj Singh, an employee of the construction company, informed Gurmeet Sidhu, partner of Advantage HR Solutions, regarding the inspection and claimed that despite paying Rs 30,000 on a quarterly basis, the inspection was carried out. On May 15, Gurmeet contacted Naik, who then asked him to arrange bribe money from the Nagarjuna company.



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