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Rs 20 lakh in customs mans account

Sleuths of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) found a large sum of unaccounted-for money in the possession of arrested Customs superintendent (preventive) S.K. Das. The amount does not tally with Das source of income.

During a search over the past 24 hours, the investigators found Das transaction papers, showing a sum of Rs 20 lakh that he had deposited recently.

Das entered the CBI dragnet on Sunday morning while taking a bribe of Rs 3 lakh. A trap was laid for him in front of the Gariahat air-conditioned market. The amount was the first of four equal instalments that Das had demanded from Diamond Harbour fish trader Sukumar Roy, for letting him off the hook in a case involving possession of heroin.

According to CBI officials, overnight raids on Sunday were carried out simultaneously at Das Dover Lane residence and his ancestral home at Kanchrapara, in North 24-Parganas.

We did not find much cash in his houses, but there were a number of deposit bonds showing an abnormal figure of Das financial transaction, said an official of the CBIs anti-corruption wing.

The sleuths said Das held a locker in a nationalised bank. On opening it, we may get more details of his financial malpractices, they added.

CBI sources said the focus was shifting to other Customs officials who might have been involved in the racket. It is hard to believe that Das was the only person involved in an operation of this magnitude, a CBI official said. We are certain other people are involved, too. We have to interrogate Das further.

With the success rate in the recent past from the arrest of N.K. Puri, a high-profile officer of Airports Authority of India, to inspectors of the Railway Protection Force (RPF) while accepting a bribe the CBIs city office has stepped up vigil to curb corruption. It has issued an open appeal, requesting people to inform it if they face problems or are asked for bribes.

Victims can call up the CBI sleuths at (033) 2240-9319 or 2240-9942.

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