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Cuffs on excise man for bribe

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday arrested the commissioner of central excise and customs, Calcutta, for allegedly accepting a bribe of over Rs 1 crore through hawala transaction from a Mumbai-based company.

Two conduits of the commissioner and the father-son duo that had allegedly paid the bribe were also taken into custody, a CBI source said.

“Commissioner A.M. Sahay was arrested from the city along with his two conduits, Sandip and Yasraj,” said a CBI spokesperson. “We arrested R. Bhalotia and his son Prateek from Mumbai for paying the bribe to get their company cleared in an excise-related case,” he added.

“We had specific information that Sahay was trying to settle a deal with the Bhalotias to bail out the Mumbai-based company. Other than the bribe of more than Rs 1 crore, Sahay had demanded a job for a woman in the company,” said a CBI source.

“From phone conversations between Sahay and the Bhalotias, we came to know that the commissioner would send two of his men to Mumbai for the deal,” he said.

CBI officers said the number on a Rs 10 note was used as a code between the hawala operator and the person who would be receiving the money. “The money was paid in Mumbai and Sahay’s men collected it from Calcutta. As soon as the money was received and reached Sahay’s custody, we arrested him. Besides, another Rs 60 lakh was seized from Sahay,” said an officer.