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CBI raid on CalTel engineer

Sleuths of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) carried out an extensive overnight raid on the residence of the divisional engineer (transmission) of Calcutta Telephones, Nemai Sarkar, and seized Rs 32 lakh in cash.

The search and bank lockers in Sarkar’s name yielded assets valued at Rs 52 lakh. A case has been registered against the officer for amassing assets through corrupt means.

According to a CBI spokesperson, raids are also being carried out on the offices of other CalTel officers. “We have lodged a criminal case against some officers as it appears that they are all involved in various other malpractices,” said the spokesperson.

The anti-corruption wing of the CBI had recently been tipped off about false deals involving CalTel, and some officials who had pocketed a huge amount from their office account.

During investigation, the sleuths found out that Rs 40 lakh was granted in the name of a private agency a few months ago.

“The documents produced against the deal were false. The papers showed that the agency had supplied materials to CalTel. Accordingly, the telecom authorities cleared the dues. We are now investigating whether the agency exists at all,” said a CBI official.

However, CalTel did not inform the CBI about it. “We had dug out the information ourselves and our officers started working on it,” said the official.

During the probe, CBI sleuths found out that Sarkar, a CalTel divisional engineer of south Calcutta, was involved in the “deal”. Soon, officials of the anti-corruption wing laid out a plan to conduct a raid.

A team of eight officials left for Sarkar's home in Tangra from their Nizam Palace office late on Friday. A raid was carried out and several lakhs seized from the house.

On Saturday, the sleuths went to a bank where Sarkar owns two lockers. After opening them, they found documents pertaining to investments in the form of National Savings Certificates, Government of India Relief Bonds, shares and bank deposits worth Rs 45 lakh. Jewellery valued at Rs 5.6 lakh and documents pertaining to purchase of land worth Rs two lakh were also found.

“We are scrutinising the seized documents and investigation is in progress,” said a CBI official.

According to the officials probing the case, Sarkar was promoted as divisional engineer from the rank of the sub-divisional engineer three months ago. “The ‘deal’ was clinched before he was promoted,” one of them said.

The sleuths said the “deal” was not the first of its kind. “We suspect similar ‘deals’ were clinched in the recent past,” said an officer working on this case, adding, “Raids were carried out on the offices and residences of another divisional engineer and junior telecom officer. But nothing was found there.”

The CBI sleuths have not arrested Sarkar so far. “It is our style of operation. We have all the material in hand required to lodge a case. Till now, we have been gathering evidence,” said an official. Sarkar is being interrogated “in the hope of further recovery”.

The sleuths have raided the house of another person identified as a well-known Calcutta-based lawn-tennis player whose name was not disclosed for the sake of investigation. “It appears that the person is involved with the agency which was given Rs 40 lakh from the CalTel account,” said an official.

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