NEW DELHI: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday said that it has arrested Saroj Kumar Das, a chief mechanical engineer (CME) of Paradip Port Trust and three private persons on the allegations of bribery and recovered ₹84.5 lakh during searches.
CBI spokesperson RC Joshi said, “CBI has arrested Das and three private persons including conduit, a middleman in a case related to bribery.”
Besides Das, the CBI arrested Sumanta Rout aka Bana, a private person or conduit, Sankha Subhra Mitra, Manager of Port Operations, KCT Group and Surya Narayan Sahoo, DGM (Operations) of Orissa Stevedores Limited.
The CBI action comes after it registered a case against Das, Rout, Mitra, Debapriya Mohanty of KCT Group, Charchit Mishra, Director of Orissa Stevedores Limited, Sahoo, a company named Orissa Stevedores Ltd and unknown others.
The official said that CBI intercepted Rout in Odisha’s Paradip and recovered ₹5 lakh of the alleged bribe money from him. Later, ₹18.30 lakh also as part of the alleged bribe was recovered.
“During further searches ₹20.25 lakh, jewellery, documents related to investment and other incriminating documents were recovered from the residence of the Chief Mechanical Engineer Das,” Joshi said.
He said that searches were also conducted at 15 locations including in Paradip, Cuttack, Jagatsinghpur and Bhubaneshwar at the premises of the accused. “₹41 lakh was recovered from the premises of Mishra,” he said.
In the complaint to the CBI, it was alleged that the CME, Paradip Port Trust (Odisha) was in the habit of demanding and accepting bribes through his close conduit for extending undue benefits to various private stakeholders engaged in port service and activities at Paradip Port.
Rout, a conduit of Das, was in close contact with Mitra who also allegedly acted as a middleman with other Cargo companies of a private group of companies and other persons.
It was further alleged that while unloading cargo, Orissa Stevedores Ltd damaged the conveyor belt operational in Paradip Port.
The cost of repairing or replacing the conveyor belt was very high. Das in conspiracy with Rout and Mishra got it repaired at the cost of Port Trust causing a huge monetary advantage to Orissa Stevedores, the FIR alleged.
“In turn, Rout allegedly demanded ₹60 lakh as a bribe for the said favour, allegedly on behalf of Das. Accordingly, he collected the bribe amount of ₹25 lakh from Cuttack and kept ₹10 lakh separately for themselves. It was also alleged that Rout handed over ₹10 lakh to a real estate developer in Bhubaneshwar, with whom the chief mechanical engineer had allegedly booked a property,” the CBI said.