Saturday, May 24, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

CBI custody for PA, Vardhan

New Delhi, May 23
The personal assistant of the Minister of State for Finance, Mr G.R. Ramachandran, Perumal Swamy, who was nabbed yesterday on charges of taking bribe for transferring a senior income tax official, was today remanded by a local court in 10-day CBI custody.

Special Judge Prem Kumar also remanded Anurag Vardhan, an IRS officer, who was arrested on charges of paying a bribe of Rs 4 lakh to Perumal, in the CBI custody for four days.

Another accused, Padmanabhan, who had taken Perumal to Vardhan’s place but was not present during the transaction, was also remanded in custody for four days.

Contrary to the yesterday’s statement, the CBI today told the court that Perumal was arrested from outside the residence of Vardhan with a polythene packet containing Rs 4 lakh.

On confrontation, Perumal, who is a political appointee of the minister, allegedly revealed that he had collected the money from Vardhan at the instance of Chennai-based chartered accountant A Krishnamurty.

Counsel Dinesh Mathur, appearing for Vardhan, argued that the accused had nothing to do with the money and he had sought the transfer to Mumbai for the treatment of his children, who were autistic and suffering from several ailments.

“Vardhan is transferred by the CBDT and the minister has nothing to do with it. Moreover, it is a genuine case of transfer,’’ Mr Mathur argued.

Speaking directly to the judge, Vardhan, who was posted as Assistant Director, alleged that he was subjected to third degree by Inspector Manohar Lal during the interrogation.

While remanding the accused in custody, Mr Kumar said, “Other officials of the Finance Ministry, apart from the PA of the Minister of State for Finance, are said to be involved in this racket. It is a case of racket of transfer and posting in high places.’’

“The searches conducted at several places in Delhi and Chennai have yet to be scrutinised and the entire conspiracy is yet to be unearthed,’’ the order said.

Meanwhile, accused Krishnamurthy, arrested at Chennai yesterday, was brought here on transit remand for further investigation.

Krishnamurthy would be produced before Mr Kumar on Monday. UNI

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