CBI: In Vigilance Mode

Cleaning up the CBI will be easier said than done. In the latest infraction, a senior official is under the scanner for conspiring with a former RAW official in return for favors from a liquor baron By Vishwas Kumar
The arrest of Nirvikar Singh, a former RAW official, last month has once again brought into focus the integrity of officials working in India’s premier anti-corruption unit. Singh had alle-gedly hatched a conspiracy with a senior CBI official to help a liquor baron involved in a fraud case. Former CBI chief Ranjit Sinha is already facing Central Vigilance Commission’s probe for allegedly meeting high-profile persons accused in the 2G, Coalgate and other scams. Similarly, Sinha’s predecessor, AP Singh, was also under the scanner for his alleged links with meat exporter-cum-hawala operator, Moin Qureshi. DISHONEST DEALINGS According to CBI’s FIR (RC No: AC 1/2015/ A 003), filed on May 13, Nirvikar Singh, a former RAW employee and a resident of south Delhi, had conspired with DK Barik, superintendent of police, Sub-Directorate of Prosecution/ Anti Corruption Bureau of the CBI, to help Bhupinder Singh, accused in a corruption case registered in 1999. The deal was fixed for `30 lakh. The CBI alleged in its FIR: “Bhupinder Singh, a resident of DLF Phase II, Gurgaon, is an accused in CBI case no RC-5 (A)/ 1999, CBI, ACB, Delhi. The case is presently under trial in the court of special judge at the Patiala House court. Nirvikar Singh is having an old acquaintance with Bhupinder Singh who is having an office at DLF Jasola Tower and liquor bottling plants located at Delhi and Chan-digarh. Nirvikar impressed on Bhupinder that DK Barik can provide him relief in the final outcome of his case as Barik is in charge of the Sub-Directorate of Prosecution, CBI Delhi, and as such supervises all undertrial cases of CBI in Delhi.” Detailing the sequence of events, the CBI alleged that sources informed it that Nirvikar approached Barik and arranged a meeting with Bhupinder in his office on April 30 this year. Nirvikar met Barik at his residence on May 3 and thereafter all three met again at Khan Market on May 12.

Nirvikar convinced Bhupinder that DK Barik could help him out for `30 lakh in the 1999 corruption case, as he was handling the undertrial cases of CBI in Delhi.

According to CBI, Nirvikar demanded `30 lakh from Bhupinder, which would be given to Barik. Bhupinder agreed to pay the amount of `30 lakh, as “illegal gratification” in two installations. They further agreed to pay the first installment of `15 lakh on May 13, CBI added. The agency, which came to know the details of their planning, knew that Nirvikar had fixed a meeting with Arjun Singh, son of Bhupinder Singh, at Lodhi hotel, scheduled for May 13. The sleuths knew that during this meeting, Nirvikar would accept illegal gratification of `15 lakhs from Arjun. CBI arrived at the conclusion that Nirvikar Singh, Bhupinder Singh, Arjun Singh and others had committed an offense under Section 120-B IPC read with Section 8 of PC Act, 1988 (which deal with conspiracy and illegal gratification to influence a public servant by corrupt or illegal means). INTERNAL VIGILANCE Soon after the arrest, CBI spokesperson Kanchan Prasad in a statement said that the CBI official’s role was under probe and action would be taken once it would be concluded. “As part of its (CBI) emphasis on strict internal vigilance drive, the role of the concerned officer of the CBI is also being scrutinized,” she said. The internal inquiry can also widen the scope of probe the possible complicity of Barik in other cases. Interestingly, CBI’s FIR alleged that it was during the probe of a corruption case against Nirvikar, which was handled by Barik, that he developed friendly relations with him in order to influence the outcome of the case against him. On June 16, 2010, the CBI had registered an FIR against Nirvikar, his mother Kiran and brother Jagrut Singh on the charge of amassing assets disproportionate to known sources of income. The agency alleged that during his 15 years of service, Nirvikar earned around `40 lakh, but he and his family members held assets over `9 crore. MURKY RISE Before joining RAW as under-secretary in 2009, Nirvikar, originally an artillery corps officer, was aide-de-camp of then Punjab governor and Chandigarh administrator, General SF Rodrigues between 2005 and 2009. During this stint, he came under the CBI scanner with regard to the clearance of some mega projects in Chandigarh, but was never named as an accused in these cases, which were also entrusted to the CBI. According to the CBI, Singh is a well-connected person, who used to liaison for businessmen. The seizure memo (list of materials seized from the accused) which lists the recoveries made from Nirvikar’s car and house is enlightening. They include: lNon-disclosure agreement between Pega-sus Business Consulting and Nirvikar Singh Consultant dated, May 8, 2015 lA card of Ministry of Home Affairs, No Y 2097512, valid up to January 2014, in the name of Nirvikar Singh, Under Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat, with telephone numbers (he should not have been in possession of the I-card as he was suspended in 2010). lA bunch of papers containing invoices, photocopy of a letter dated August 1, 2014 of Ministry of Law & Justice, Department of Legal Affairs, to Deputy Land & Develop-ment, Shastri Bhawan; photocopy of a noting (made of file) dated July 24, 2014; police clearance certificate in the name of Alice Gupta, etc.