Rail Neer scam accused senior railway officer granted bail

source: thequint.com

New Delhi: Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS) officer Sandeep Silas was granted bail by a Delhi court on Tuesday. He was arrested along with two others in connection with alleged corruption in supply of packaged drinking water in Rajdhani and other superfast trains.

Special Judge Vinod Kumar granted the relief to Silas on a personal bond of Rs 50,000 with one surety of the like amount considering that his statement, where he explained his alleged role in the case, has already been recorded by CBI in detail.

“I have considered the submissions and I have also perused the case diaries and police record. The statement of accused Sandeep Silas has been recorded by investigating officer (IO) in detail in which he has given explanation in respect of his role in the present matter,” the judge said.

“Without expressing any opinion on the merit of his explanation, I think that it would not be appropriate to withhold the benefit of bail to the applicant especially when he fully cooperated with IO in his five days police remand,” the judge added.

Co-accused M S Chalia, also an IRTS officer of 1987 batch, was earlier granted bail by the court. However, R K Associates owner Sharan Bihari Aggarwal’s bail plea was dismissed.

CBI has alleged that Silas and Chalia had conspired with Aggrawal and instead of taking Rail Neer, they had allowed some private firms to supply bottled water in the trains, which resulted in a loss of Rs 6.25 crores to Railways.

Approximately Rs 28 crore cash was recovered, including Rs four lakh in counterfeit when searches were conducted during the probe.

Under the Prevention of Corruption Act, the CBI has also registered cases against seven private companies –RK Associates Pvt Ltd, Satyam Caterers Pvt Ltd, Ambuj Hotel and Real Estate, PK Associates Pvt Ltd, Sunsine Pvt Ltd, Brandavan Food Product and Food World -—

Though it is mandatory to supply ‘Rail Neer’ in premium trains such as Rajdhani and Shatabdi, the two accused officials, who held the position of Chief Commercial Manager, had shown favour to these private firms in supply of cheap packaged drinking water, alleged the CBI.

It has said that the Railway Board had prescribed that IRCTC shall provide Rail Neer at the rate of around Rs 10.50 per bottle to private caterers and they would be paid (approx) Rs 15 per bottle for supplying the same to the passengers in the premium trains.

However, the private suppliers were allegedly supplying cheap packaged water priced at Rs 5.70 to Rs 7 per bottle in the market, to make a profit for themselves.

(Inputs from PTI)