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Rail Neer scam: 2 officials, businessman remanded

20 October 2015

A special court in Delhi on Monday remanded two senior railways officers and a businessman, arrested in connection with the alleged corruption in supply of packaged drinking water in Rajdhani and other superfast trains, to five-day CBI custody.

Special Judge Vinod Kumar remanded the three accused to CBI custody till 23 October after the agency submitted they needed to be interrogated to unearth the larger conspiracy and also for recovery of certain documents.

The agency, which had sought six days police custody, said the two public servants -- Sandeep Silas and M S Chalia --were in conspiracy with arrested businessman Sharan Bihari Agrawal and instead of taking Rail Neer, they had allowed some private firms to supply water in the trains, which resulted in a loss of Rs6.25 crore to the exchequer.

The agency said that searches were conducted during the probe in which approximately Rs28 crore was recovered, out of which around Rs4 lakh was counterfeit currency.

The CBI said that accused were not cooperating in the probe and they were required to be interrogated regarding some bank lockers in and outside Delhi and also in Agra.

The agency said both the arrested public servants, despite having knowledge, had not taken any corrective steps on the issue and they were required to be questioned about the alleged investments which they have made in various companies.

Countering CBI's argument, senior advocate Vikas Pahwa, who appeared for Chalia, told the court that his client was cooperating with the agency due to which he was not arrested on 16 and 17 October when the agency conducted the searches.

He said the case was of documentary nature and he did not know why his client was arrested when he was cooperating with the probe agency.

Pahwa also told the court that there was no flaw in grant of contract for supply of water and if at all there was any flaw, it was in the execution for which his client cannot be held responsible.

The counsel also argued that CBI has not given them a copy of the first information report and none of the grounds given in the remand application showed that police custody of accused was needed.

Silas, a 1984-batch Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS) officer, and Chalia, a 1987 batch officer, were taken into custody on Saturday night along with Agrawal, owner of R K Associates, in connection with the scam.

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