Friday, May 23, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Minister’s PA, IT officer held on graft charges
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 22
A personal assistant (PA) of Minister of State for Finance Gingee N Ramachandran and an Income Tax officer were apprehended today by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on charges of corruption and bribery while allegedly exchanging Rs 4 lakh for facilitating a transfer posting. In a related move, the Centre put on hold transfers of 54 IT officials after the arrests.

The accused, Perumal Swamy alias Babu, first PA to the Union Minister was reportedly nabbed by sleuths of the CBI’s Anti-Corruption branch, while accepting the bribe from an IRS official Anurag Vardhan after the latter was given his choice posting to Mumbai, CBI spokesperson G Mohanty told newspersons here.

Mr Vardhan, who was also arrested, was allegedly paying the amount to Mr Swamy for effecting his transfer from Delhi to Mumbai, Mr Mohanty said, adding the transfer order was released by the Finance Ministry yesterday.

Giving details of the case, Mr Mohanty said Mr Vardhan had approached Mr Swamy through a middleman A Krishnamurthy, a chartered accountant based in Chennai for getting his posting done from Delhi to Mumbai.

Acting on a specific information, the CBI had laid a trap at Mr Vardhan’s residence at Safdarjung Enclave. When Mr Swamy went to meet the IRS official for taking mutually agreed upon amount, Anti-Corruption branch sleuths swung into action and nabbed the accused, the spokesperson said.

During the searches at the residence and office of Mr Swamy, the CBI claimed to have recovered some incriminating documents, including some ‘chits’ on which names of different officers, along with their choice postings, were written, were recovered. At Chennai, Mr Krishnamurthy was detained by CBI personnel after they reportedly confiscated Rs 65 lakh in cash and blank cheques worth Rs 57 lakh from his residence, he said.

Searches at Mr Vardhan’s residence resulted in recovery of Rs 3.05 lakh cash and some incriminating documents, the CBI spokesperson claimed. The Centre also today kept in abeyance the transfer of 54 Income Tax officials following the arrest of the first PA of Union Minister of State for Finance.

Finance Minister Jaswant Singh instructed that the transfer order affecting 54 Deputy and Assistant Commissioners of Income Tax of May 21 be held ‘in abeyance’, an official release said here.

“The larger issue of systematising, rationalising and making the process of transfer and postings of Indian Revenue Service transparent, has already been undertaken by Ministry of Finance,” the release added.

Meanwhile, the BJP today termed as ‘unfortunate’ the alleged involvement of a personal assistant of Minister of State for Finance in a bribe case.

Mr Naqvi, however, parried questions whether Mr Gingee Ramachandran would be dropped in the Cabinet reshuffle following the arrest of his first personal assistant.

Meanwhile, the CBI was likely to speak to Minister of State for Finance G.R. Ramachandran about the arrest of his personal assistant Perumal Swamy on charges of taking bribe for transferring a senior income tax official.

CBI sources said that the minister was likely to be asked about his knowledge, if any, about the alleged corrupt practices of his PA.

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