Paradip port official among 4 arrested in bribery case

by IANS |

Bhubaneswar, Aug 5 (IANS) The Central Bureau of Investigation has arrested four persons, including a chief mechanical engineer of Paradip Port Trust, Odisha in a bribery case.

According to sources, the arrest was made under a case registered against chief mechanical engineer, Saroj Kumar Das and others including private persons and a private company.

It was alleged that the port official was in the habit of demanding & accepting bribes through his close conduit for extending undue benefits to various private stakeholders engaged in port service and activities at Paradip port.

"The said conduit of chief mechanical manager was in close contact with manager port operations (also allegedly acting as a middleman with other cargo companies) of a private group of companies & other persons. It was further alleged that while unloading cargo, a private company based at Cuttack, damaged the conveyor belt operational in Paradip port," the central agency said in a statement.

The cost of repairing/replacement of the conveyor belt was very high. Das in conspiracy with conduit, middleman & the director of the private company got it repaired at the cost of port trust causing huge monetary advantage to said private company.

In return, on behalf of Das, the conduit allegedly demanded Rs 60 lakh as bribe. Accordingly, he collected the bribe amount of Rs 25 lakh from Cuttack and kept Rs 10 lakh separately for himself, the CBI said.

It was also alleged that the conduit handed over Rs 10 lakh to a real estate developer in Bhubaneshwar, with whom the chief mechanical engineer had allegedly booked a property.

The CBI intercepted the said conduit in Paradip and recovered Rs 5 lakh of the alleged bribe money from him. Later, Rs 18.30 lakh were also recovered by the CBI officials.

During further raids, the central agency has recovered Rs 20.25 lakh cash, jewellery, documents related to investment and other incriminating documents from the residence of Das.

The CBI has conducted raids at 15 locations including in Paradip, Cuttack, Jagatsinghpur & Bhubaneswar at the premises of the accused. During the raids, it has recovered Rs 41 lakh cash from the premises of the director of the private company. The arrested accused will be produced before the competent court today, it said.

Notably, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday raided the residence and office of Odisha's leading businessman Mahima Mishra in connection to this case. Mishra, the proprietor of Odisha Stevedores Limited, was also interrogated by the CBI on Friday morning here.

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