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Bansal skips cabinet meet, Congress defends him

Bansal skips cabinet meet, Congress defends him

New Delhi: Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, under a cloud over his kin's involvement in bribery allegation for a plum railway board posting, skipped the cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Thursday.

There is speculation he may be asked to quit.

Opposition parties including the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) have demanded Bansal's resignation after his nephew Vijay Singla was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for allegedly taking a bribe for the appointment of a member of the Railway Board.

A Delhi court Thursday sent Singla and four others, including prime accused and railway official Mahesh Kumar, to judicial custody till May 20.

Singla allegedly accepted a bribe of Rs.90 lakh from Kumar for his (Kumar's) appointment as member (electrical) of the powerful Railway Board.

Businessmen N.R. Manjunath and Sandeep Goyal helped Kumar in arranging money to give bribe to Singla and were to get favours from Kumar after his appointment as member (electrical).

Four other co-accused -- Vivek Kumar, Dharmendra, Rahul Yadav and Samir Sandhir -- are already in judicial custody till May 20.

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