Riding into CBI trap on an Enfield!

Riding ‘Royal Enfield’ is a passion for many but demanding it as bribe can land one in trouble, as a couple of bureaucrats have found.

Information gathered by investigators about a public servant demanding the high-end motorcycle for approaching NBCC (India) Ltd Chairman and Managing Director Anoop Kumar Mittal for a sub-contract in a multi-crore project has led the top bureaucrat and others into a CBI web.

The CBI has registered a case against Mittal, public servant Pradeep Kumar Mishra, suspected middleman Rishab Agarwal, Capacite Structure Ltd Managing Director Sanjay Kulkarni and his employee Aakash Deep Chouhan. None could be reached for their version of the story.

Mittal, according to the FIR, had even assured Kulkarni that if his company did not get the sub-contract, he would ensure that none will get it.

All started with Kulkarni approaching Agarwal, who have “good contacts” with various public servants, for getting a sub-contract in the Rs 2,149.93 crore project for redeveloping the Pragati Maidan complex in Delhi awarded to Shapoorji Pallonji and Co.

Agarwal, in turn, got in touch with public servant Mishra, who is “very close” to senior officials in NBCC (India), a government blue chip company involved in real estate development and construction business.

Mishra then “assured” that he would get the job done using his “close contacts” and “personal influence” on Mittal. “In lieu of that Mishra demanded a new Royal Enfield as a part of the illegal gratification. Agarwal apprised Kulkarni about the demand, which he agreed to deliver,” the FIR said.

According to the CBI, Mittal, under the “influence” of Mishra “strongly directed” NBCC’s Executive Director Rakesh Gupta to settle the issue in Kulkarni’s favour. On December 15, a meeting was held between Kulkarni, NBCC functionaries and officials of Shapoorji Pallonji.

After this meeting, Mittal assured Kulkarni and Mishra that their request will be met. “Mittal further assured Mishra and Kulkarni that if the work was not given to Capacite Structures Ltd, he would ensure that it would not be given to anyone else,” the FIR said.

Mishra and Chauhan were arrested on Friday night. CBI carried out searches in Ghaziabad, Delhi and Mumbai. Residential and official premises of Mittal were not searched so far.

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Dec 24, 2017)

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