CBI Arrests Director Of Gas Corporation GAIL, 4 Others For Taking Bribes

The Central Bureau of Investigation arrested five individuals on Saturday in the bribery case.

New Delhi:

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has arrested ES Ranganathan, Director (Marketing) of state-run gas corporation GAIL, in a bribery case of over Rs 50 lakh for giving discounts to private companies buying petro chemical products marketed by the Maharatna PSU, officials said Sunday.

The CBI had unearthed the alleged bribery scam involving Ranganathan, middlemen, and businessmen and arrested five individuals on Saturday.

The central agency had conducted searches at eight locations in Delhi-NCR including Ranganathan’s office at Bhikaji Kama Place in Delhi and his residence in Sector 62, Noida. “Cash of Rs 1.29 crore (approx), and gold jewellery and other valuables (having app value of Rs 1.25 crore) was recovered during searches from the premises of said accused (Ranganathan),” CBI Spokesperson RC Joshi said.  

It is alleged that Ranganathan was collecting bribes from prospective beneficiaries of discounts to private companies that were buying petro chemical products marketed by the Maharatna PSU, officials said.

It is also alleged that Ranganathan was “indulging into corrupt and illegal activities in criminal conspiracy” with middlemen Pawan Gaur and Rajesh Kumar who is also director of Rishab Polychem Pvt. Ltd based at Bahudargarh Road, Delhi. Kumar and Gaur allegedly acted as Ranganathan’s middlemen by obtaining bribe from the private companies buying petro chemical products marketed by the Gas Authority of India Ltd (GAIL).

Based on information of one such bribery exchange, the CBI teams had conducted a trap operation in which two middlemen Gaur and Kumar were arrested with the bribe amount of about 10 lakh which was collected on behalf of Ranganathan, said the CBI.

Besides Ranganathan and middlemen Gaur and Kumar, the CBI also charged N Ramakrishnan Nair –who had allegedly collected bribes — along with businessmen Saurabh Gupta and his Panchkula-based company United Polymer Industries, and Aditya Bansal and his company Karnal-based Bansal Agency.

“Subsequently, searches were conducted at the premises of accused at Delhi, Noida, Gurgaon, Panchkula, Karnal etc, which led to recovery of Rs 84 lakh (approx.) so far, which includes recovery of Rs 75 lakh from a Gurgaon-based private person. Searches are continuing at the premises of public servant,” Mr Joshi had said.  

Sources had informed the CBI that, at the direction of Kumar, Gaur had asked Ranganathan to give some discount to the buyers on the petro chemical products being marketed by GAIL, in return of illegal gratification. The FIR alleged that Kumar and Gaur met Ranganathan at his Noida residence on December 11 last year to discuss the proposal.

Two days later, Gaur informed Kumar that the discount proposal is being considered in GAIL.

In order to arrange bribes, Kumar got in touch with other prospective beneficiaries of a discount, after the final decision was taken in GAIL on the issuance of the discount order. Gaur, Kumar and Ranganathan again met at a five-star hotel in Delhi on December 14 to discuss it further.  

“Source has further informed that on December 17, 2021, Rajesh collected the demanded bribe amount from beneficiary private parties and delivered it to Gaur for Ranganathan. Source has further informed that on December 18, 2021, on the direction of Ranganathan, Nair…has collected the said amount of Rs 40 Lakh from the residence of Gaur. Thereafter, on December 20, 2021, Gaur pursued Ranganathan for issuance of order, on which he had told him that he would sign after returning from Mumbai,” an official said.

Kumar allegedly roped in two more perspective beneficiaries — Gupta and Bansal — and convinced them for paying bribe in exchange for the favourable orders.

Kumar on January 13 told Gupta to fulfil his side commitment for issuance of discount order from GAIL and put forth alleged demand of Rs 12 lakh from Ranganathan. Gaur also told Gupta to send money at the earliest after which he allegedly paid Rs three lakh to Kumar while remaining was to be sent through hawala route, it said.

“…Ranganathan on the request of Pawan Gaur and Rajesh Kumar got some checks conducted in the month of November, 2021 in the premises of some authorised stockists of GAIL. However, before the said surprise check, Ranganathan had also cautioned some of his favoured parties,” said the FIR.

The CBI has booked the accused under IPC sections of criminal conspiracy and provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act, added officials. 

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