CBI raids 110 places in major crackdown on graft (Night Lead)

New Delhi, July 9 (IANS) In a nationwide crackdown, the CBI on Tuesday raided 110 places across 19 states and Union Territories, in what is seen as the Modi government's biggest ever action against corruption.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered around 30 separate cases relating to corruption, criminal misconduct and arms smuggling among others.

According to a senior agency official, the raids started early morning in various cities including Delhi, Bharatpur, Mumbai, Chandigarh, Jammu, Srinagar, Pune, Jaipur, Goa, Raipur, Hyderabad, Madurai, Kolkata, Rourkela, Ranchi, Bokaro, and Lucknow besides places in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Odisha, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Bihar.

An agency official said here that the CBI carried out raids at over 13 places in Jammu and Kashmir in connection with an arms licence case. "The CBI has carried out searches at 11 places in Jammu and one place each in Udhampur and Srinagar on gun shops in the state."

The official said that the agency's raids came after it filed two cases on the request of the government over irregularities in issuing gun licences. He said that during searches incriminating documents with reference to issue and renewal of arms licences, blank application forms submitted by licencees, money transactions of the gun dealers with the licencees, blank no-objection certificates purportedly issued by the District Magistrate and the arms licence issue register of the DM office have been seized.

The official said that besides Jammu and Kashmir, the agency also carried out searches in connection with probe into the Himachal Pradesh scholarship scam to the tune of Rs 250 crore. The official said raids were carried out at the premises of an educational institute NIELT in Kangra and its training centre in Chamba district of the state.

The CBI also carried out searches at educational institutes in Una and Sirmour district.

The official said that out of the 30 cases, the agency also carried out raids at four places in UP's Bulandshahr in a case pertaining to the exchange of demonetised currency of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 to the tune of Rs 58.5 lakh in November, 2016.

The CBI said that a case was registered against D.K. Gupta, then branch manager of Punjab National Bank, Meerut road branch in Uttar Pradesh's Ghaziabad on allegation of opening a count of Kanha Sales corporation, Ghaziabad by flouting KYC norms of the bank and depositing invalid specified notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 amounting to Rs 58.5 lakh during period of demonetisation.

"During searches several papers related to LIC, bank documents, immoveable properties and mutual funds have been recovered," he said.

The agency official said that on the basis of a case registered against Anutosh Maitra, the then CEO of Bokaro Steel Plant and the then DGM of Bokaro Steel Plant, Ajay Kumar and others on July 3 this month, the CBI carried out searches in Jharkhand's Ranchi and Bokaro, West Bengal's Kolkata and Odisha's Rourkela.

The official said that Anutosh Maitra had allegedly demanded and accepted illegal gratification of Rs 29 lakh for his daughter's marriage from Jagmohan Singh, proprietor of Janata Tent House in Bokaro.

"The money was shown as some work was done in the plant causing wrongful loss to the tune of Rs 31 lakh to the plant," he said, adding that incriminating documents were recovered during the searches.

The official further said that as part of the massive crackdown, the CBI team also raided the residential premises of three IRS officials in Mumbai. He said it raided the residence of Kunal Anuj, a 2012-batch IRS officer. The official said that a case was registered on Monday against Anuj, the then Deputy Commissioner of Customs of Navasheva and a private person for the loss of Rs 1 crore to the government.

The official said that in another case against an IRS official, the agency raided Sharad Ranjan, then Deputy Commissioner in Mumbai for alleged irregularities in disbursal of amount to the tune of Rs 3.5 crore.

The official said that the agency also raided the residence of then Deputy Commissioner, Customs, Kamleshwar Singh, for the loss of around Rs 2 crore and recovered 400 gms of gold.

He said that for such a massive operation of raids at 110 places across the country, over 500 officials were deployed for which the agency had to plan in advance. The CBI last week had carried out raids at over 50 places in 14 states and Union Territories.

Premises of 13 companies and bank officials across the country were searched for alleged bank frauds amounting to Rs 1,139 crore. The search and seizure was one of the biggest simultaneous, synchronised actions against bank loan defaulters in recent times.

--IANS

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