Seven CR men under CBI lens for duping railways

Seven officials from Central Railway (CR), including its Chief Public Relations Officer (CPRO) Atul Rane, are being probed by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for their alleged involvement in a canteens-and-stalls scam. The special CBI court directed the agency’s Anti-corruption Bureau (ACB) to carry out an inquiry against the officials. The court also directed the sleuths to book the CR employees, if found guilty, under relevant sections of Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Bone of contention: A railway canteen at CST. Officials have been accused of accepting money from stall owners to allow them to operate without renewing their licences, or paying revenue to CR; (inset) Ajay Bose. Pics/Bipin Kokate, Pradeep Dhivar

Last week, Special CBI Judge S G Dige instructed (copy available with MiD DAY) the ACB to carry out an investigation against Atul Rane, Assistant Commercial Manager (ACM), catering S S Patange, ACM M D Shrivastav, Divisional Commercial Manager (DCM) Suresh Saxena, ex-ACM (catering) Manik Ram, Catering Inspector Sudhakar, and Office Superintendent (catering) Ghodke, under section 156 (3) of the CrPC, and submit a report to the court. The accused are responsible for smooth functioning of food stalls under Mumbai division to attend to the needs of the passengers, and generate revenue for the railways.

The alleged fraud came to light in a reply to an RTI query filed by Ajay Bose, a CR employee. Bose said there were 15 stalls at CST managed by the railways, and a total of 100 in the Mumbai division.  He accused the aforementioned officials of undervaluing the sales generated at theses stalls and depositing lesser amounts with the railways. 

Bose also accused the officials of accepting illegal gratification or monetary benefits to allow the owners to keep their stalls open without renewing licences or paying revenue to CR. The functionaries were also accused of violating several norms while allotting canteens and stalls. “All accused have indulged in siphoning off crores of rupees, thereby causing revenue loss to the railway exchequer through their corrupt practices,” he said. 

Bose complained to the CBI on March 10, 2011 and August 30, 2012. But the complainant claims nothing has been done till date. On July 2, 2013, Bose once again lodged a complaint with CBI and CR officials. He finally approached the Special CBI Court, requesting action against the officials. Based on his complaint, the court directed the ACB to investigate the matter and submit its report.

“I prayed to the court to register an FIR against the accused under sections 120 (B), 109, 406, 409, 420, 465, 467, 471, and 477 (A) of IPC and sections 13 (1) (D) r /w 13 (2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, which the court accepted, and ordered an investigation and submission of report,” Bosesaid. When contacted, CBI Joint Director (Mumbai) Keshav Kumar said he would be able to comment only after seeing the order.

The other side 
Atul Rane said, “The matter is in my knowledge and CBI is investigating it. All these are just allegations.” CR Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) Mukesh Nigam said, “I am not aware of any court order. But, CBI must be doing its job.”  

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