The CBI has arrested four persons, including a deputy general manager of Orissa Stevedores Ltd, in a bribery case involving a top official of the Paradip Port Trust.
Saroj Kumar Das, Chief Mechanical Engineer of Paradip Port Trust, had allegedly demanded Rs 60 lakh as bribe from the company through his conduit Sumanta Rout to let off OSL without paying for the repair of a conveyor belt at the port that was damaged during unloading of goods, officials said.
The CBI team has arrested Rout, Das, DGM of OSL Surya Narayan Sahu and another person named Sankha Subhra Mitra in connection with the case, they said. It has also named Debapriya Mohanty, of KCT Group, Charchit Mishra, Director of OSL, and Orissa Stevedores Ltd in the FIR.
During searches at 15 locations, the central agency seized Rs 84.5 lakh in cash, the officials said. During searches at 15 locations, the central agency seized Rs 84.5 lakh in cash, the officials said.
"It was alleged that the Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME), Paradip Port Trust (Odisha), was in the habit of demanding and taking bribes through his close conduit (Rout) for extending undue benefits to various private stakeholders engaged in port service and activities at the Paradip Port,” the CBI said in a statement.
Rout was in regular contact with Mitra who was Manager, Port Operations of KCT group of companies and also allegedly acted as a middleman with other cargo companies, the officials said.
The CBI team also questioned OSL Managing Director Mahimananda aka Mahima Mishra and his son Chandan till around 9 pm at the agency’s office in Bhubaneswar, they said.
I do not know why the CBI summoned me, Mishra told reporters upon his arrival at the CBI office earlier in the day. The CBI has alleged that while unloading cargo, OSL had damaged the conveyor belt operational at Paradip Port.
"The cost of repairing/replacement of the conveyor belt was very high. The said CME (Das) in conspiracy with conduit (Rout), middleman (Mitra) and Director (Sahu) of said private company got it repaired at the cost of the Port Trust, causing huge monetary advantage to said private company,” the probe agency said.
"In turn, the conduit (Rout) allegedly demanded Rs 60 lakh as bribe for the favour, on behalf of the CME,” the statement said. Rout collected a bribe amount of Rs 25 lakh, it said.
It was also alleged that the conduit handed over Rs 10 lakh to a real estate developer in Bhubaneshwar, with whom the CME had allegedly booked a property, the CBI statement said.
The CBI intercepted Rout in Paradip and recovered Rs 5 lakh of the alleged bribe money from him. "Later, Rs 18.30 lakh, also part of the alleged bribe, was recovered. During further searches, Rs 20.25 lakh (approx), jewellery, documents related to investment and other incriminating documents were recovered from the CME’s residence,” the statement said. ”The arrested accused were produced before a court on Friday, which remanded three of them, barring Mitra, in CBI custody for four days.