Arrested executive director (eastern region) of Airports Authority of India Naresh Kumar Puri has “major investments” in Delhi-based banks which are disproportionate to his income. The CBI sleuths, who picked up the senior airport official on Friday, reached this conclusion on Saturday after examining documents seized from his house.
“We have checked Puri’s bank passbooks in course of investigation and deduced that he had deposited the amount during his service tenure in Delhi,” said a senior CBI official.
Puri was caught red-handed at his residence on the airport campus by the CBI’s anti-corruption wing late on Thursday while taking a bribe of Rs 5,000 from a civil contractor. He had claimed the money for clearing the contractor’s dues. Puri’s teenaged son Ankush was also rounded up as he tried to wriggle out by stuffing the money into the boy’s pocket.
CBI sleuths recovered Rs 3 lakh in cash and removable properties valued at Rs 40 lakh from Puri’s house during an overnight raid on Thursday. The executive director was remanded in police custody for four days when he was produced in court on Saturday.
CBI sources indicated that Puri might have indulged in “malpractices” even during his tenure in Delhi as it was not possible for him to have accumulated so much money in his two-and-a-half-year stint in Calcutta.
“But investigations are underway and it will take some more time to get to the bottom of Puri’s involvement in fraudulent practices,” an official added.
The investigators are also checking Puri’s bank accounts in Calcutta. “We will be able to figure out how much he pocketed by misusing his Dum Dum airport chair in the past two-and-half years only after a thorough look-in,” said an official.
Besides, the sleuths of the anti-corruption wing have contacted their Chennai counterparts as several deposit bonds purchased from Chennai were found from Puri’s house. “We are awaiting a feedback from our Chennai branch,” said an official.
According to CBI sources, Puri, who used to oversee construction work at the Dum Dum airport and its staff quarters, had made it mandatory for the contractors to bribe him. “The contractors had to pay him to get their dues cleared, even it was a small amount. Puri used to take any amount — from Rs 500 to Rs 10,000,” said the official.
“We are also probing some complaints against Puri received from Guwahati and Shillong airports,” an official said. “We shall see if all these charges can be included in the case against Puri,” he added.
CBI officials have issued an appeal to the people to report corruption. The complainant may contact the agency’s Nizam Palace office on AJC Bose Road or call up 2240-9313/9121/9942.