News Karnataka
Wednesday, April 24 2024

CBI’s response sought on bail plea of arrested NHAI official

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New Delhi: A Delhi court on Friday January 21 sought the response of the CBI on a bail application filed by an official of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), who was arrested by the probe agency in an alleged bribery case.

On December 31, 2021, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had arrested Bengaluru-based NHAI Regional Officer Akil Ahmad, and four others of a private company in a Rs. 20 lakh bribery case.

According to the CBI, the case against the NHAI official and two contractors was lodged earlier in December last and they had arrested the official during raids.

Besides him, Dilip Buildcon Ltd’s Executive Director Devendra Jain, General Manager Retnakaran Sajilal, official Sunil Kumar Verma as well as Anuj Gupta were also arrested.

Issuing notice to the CBI, Special CBI Judge Vinod Yadav posted the matter for further hearing on January 25.

Applicant’s counsel Ashwath Sitaraman and Saaduzzaman argued that the entire allegation is conjectural as the applicant has no discretion as Regional Officer, to do any favour to Dilip Buildcon, or clear any bill. This was a newly-begun project, awarded by a committee of which applicant was not a part, they said.

They also said the arrest has been made without cause and without following the procedures of the law.

Highlighting the service record of the official, the counsel said that the CBI itself sought judicial custody after 9 days of police custody, and there is no requirement of continued custody especially in the time of the pandemic.

The CBI said that Ahmad had allegedly demanded illegal gratification from the General Manager of the private company to clear the project under Bengaluru-Chennai Expressway Package 1 and 2, executed by the company in Karnataka.

The agency got a tip-off and laid a trap to catch all the accused red-handed and Rs 20 lakh was recovered from a private person in Delhi, having been allegedly received on behalf of the NHAI official, they said.

It further stated that they conducted raids and carried out searches at the premises of the accused at several places in multiple cities – Delhi, Bengaluru, Kochi, Gurugram and Bhopal, which led to the cash seizure of Rs 4 crore from the premises of private persons, and Rs. 4 lakh from the NHAI official’s premises.

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