CBI arrests Gas Corporation director GAIL, 4 others for accepting bribes
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has arrested ES Ranganathan, director (marketing) of state-owned gas company GAIL, in a bribery case worth more than Rs 50 lakh for giving rebates to private companies buying petrochemicals marketed by the Maharatna PSU, officials said on Sunday.
The CBI had uncovered the alleged bribery scam involving Ranganathan, intermediaries and businessmen and arrested five people on Saturday.
The central agency had carried out searches at eight locations in Delhi-NCR, including Ranganathan’s office at Bhikaji Kama Place in Delhi and his residence in Sector 62, Noida. “Cash of Rs 1.29 crore (approximately), gold jewelery and other valuables (with an application value of Rs 1.25 crore) were recovered during searches at the premises of the said accused (Ranganathan),” CBI spokesman RC Joshi said.
Ranganathan was allegedly collecting bribes from potential recipients of rebates from private companies who purchased petrochemicals marketed by the Maharatna PSU, officials said.
It is also alleged that Ranganathan “engaged in corrupt and illegal activities in a criminal conspiracy” with intermediaries Pawan Gaur and Rajesh Kumar who is also a director of Rishab Polychem Pvt. Ltd based at Bahudargarh Road, Delhi. Kumar and Gaur allegedly acted as middlemen for Ranganathan in obtaining bribes from private companies purchasing petrochemicals marketed by the Gas Authority of India Ltd (GAIL).
Based on the information of such bribe exchange, CBI teams conducted a booby-trap operation in which two intermediaries Gaur and Kumar were arrested with the bribe amount of around 10 lakh which was collected in Ranganathan’s name, the CBI said.
In addition to Ranganathan and intermediaries Gaur and Kumar, the CBI has also charged N Ramakrishnan Nair – who allegedly received bribes – as well as businessmen Saurabh Gupta and his Panchkula-based company United Polymer Industries, and Aditya Bansal and his company Bansal Agency based in Karnal. .
“Subsequently, searches were conducted at the premises of the defendants in Delhi, Noida, Gurgaon, Panchkula, Karnal, etc. resulting in the recovery of Rs 84 lakh (approximately) so far which includes the recovery of Rs 75 lakh from a Gurgaon-based private person. Searches are continuing at the official’s premises,” Mr Joshi had said.
Sources had informed the CBI that, under Kumar’s direction, Gaur asked Ranganathan to give buyers a discount on petrochemicals marketed by GAIL, in exchange for an illegal gratuity. The FIR alleged that Kumar and Gaur met Ranganathan at his residence in Noida on December 11 last year to discuss the proposal.
Two days later, Gaur informed Kumar that the discount proposal was under consideration at GAIL.
In order to arrange bribes, Kumar got in touch with other potential rebate recipients, after the final decision was made at GAIL on issuing the rebate order. Gaur, Kumar and Ranganathan met again at a five-star hotel in Delhi on December 14 to discuss it further.
“The source further informed that on December 17, 2021, Rajesh collected the requested bribe amount from the beneficiary private parties and handed it over to Gaur for Ranganathan. The source further informed that on December 18 2021, on the direction of Ranganathan, Nair …collected the said amount of Rs 40 Lakh from Gaur’s residence.Thereafter, on 20th December 2021, Gaur sued Ranganathan for issuance of an order, on which he had told him he would sign after returning from Mumbai,” an official mentioned.
Kumar allegedly enlisted two other potential beneficiaries – Gupta and Bansal – and convinced them to pay a bribe in return for the favorable orders.
On January 13, Kumar told Gupta to fulfill his side commitment for issuing a cut-price order from GAIL and submitted an alleged request for Rs 12 lakh from Ranganathan. Gaur also told Gupta to send money at the earliest after which he would pay Rs three lakh to Kumar while the rest was to be sent through the hawala route, he said.
“… Ranganathan, at the request of Pawan Gaur and Rajesh Kumar, had checks carried out in the month of November 2021 at the premises of certain authorized GAIL dealers. However, before the said surprise check, Ranganathan had also warned certain of its favored parties,” the FIR said.
The CBI reserved the accused under the criminal conspiracy sections of the IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act provisions, officials added.