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CBI arrests GAIL director in bribery case, sent to one-day agency custody

CBI arrests GAIL director in bribery case, sent to one-day agency custody

ES Ranganathan, Image courtesy: 

CBI on Sunday arrested GAIL's director of marketing, E.S. Ranganathan, for allegedly accepting bribes from businessmen in exchange for discount orders on petro products. He was later sent to the agency's custody for one day.

On Saturday, the CBI had arrested five persons in this connection. They were identified as Pawan Gaur, Ramakrishnan Nair, Rajesh Kumar, Saurabh Gupta, and Aditya Bansal.

In connection with an alleged bribe case, the CBI raided the residence of the Director Marketing of GAIL and several locations based in NCR on Saturday.

During the searches at the premises of the accused, the police recovered cash worth Rs 1.29 crore, gold jewellery worth Rs 1.3 crore, and other valuable items.

It is reported the CBI had lodged a case in this regard on Friday (January 14). The CBI had obtained information that Ranganathan, the Director (Marketing), Gas Authority of India Ltd. (GAIL), and his staff had been involved in the alleged scam. Taking part in corrupt and illegal activities while conspiring with Pawan Gaur and Rajesh Kumar.

These two individuals are alleged to have served as his middlemen, bribing the private companies that bought GAIL's petrochemical products.

A CBI source told IANS that Pawan had met several times with Ranganathan to seek a discount for GAIL customers on their petrochemical purchases at the direction of Rajesh. They also discussed illegal gratification in Noida, said the source.

Upon contacting other dealers with the prospect of being the beneficiaries of the discount, Rajesh was able to collect the bribe amount and deliver it to Pawan for Ranganathan.

"On the direction of Ranganathan, a Gurugram-based businessman N.Ramakrishnan Nair collected the Rs 40 lakh from Pawan. Rajesh also entered into negotiations with two more prospective beneficiary dealers, namely Saurabh Gupta and Aditya Bansal, and convinced them to pay the bribe in exchange for the favourable orders from GAIL," said the source.

The CBI official said that Rajesh requested Saurabh Gupta for fulfilling his commitment for issuance of the discount order by GAIL and also informed that Ranganathan had demanded Rs 15 lakh but agreed to take Rs 12 lakh. Pawan also asked Saurabh to pay the amount at the earliest.

Saurabh had already given Rs 3 lakh to Rajesh and decided to pay the rest of the amount through the hawala channel.

On January 14, Aditya Bansal also gave a bribe to Rajesh for Ranganathan.

"Ranganathan on the request of Pawan and Rajesh got some checks conducted in the month of November, in the premises of some authorised stockists of GAIL. However, before the said surprise check, Ranganathan had also cautioned some of his favoured parties. Thus they committed huge fraud and we lodged a case of prevention of corruption act," said the CBI official.

The official said that during the raid they have recorded the statement of the arrested persons. Further probe in the matter is on.

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