Cong scoffs at Opposition demand for Bansal resignation, CBI arrests 2 more

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By The Telegraph Online
  • Published 4.05.13

New Delhi, May 4 (PTI): The Congress on Saturday brushed aside demands for Railway Minister P K Bansal's resignation, saying it has become a “disease” of the Opposition to make such demands.

“For those who are demanding resignation, it has become a disease,” Congress General Secretary Janardhan Dwivedi, who is also head of the media department, told reporters.

He said Bansal has given a clarification demanding a probe in the wake of the arrest of his nephew for allegedly fixing promotions to the Railway Board.

“The Railway Minister himself has given a clarification and said that there should be a thorough probe into the matter. I don't think we can expect any thing more from him,” Dwivedi said.

The Bharatiya Janata Party has demanded the sacking of the railway minister and said the Central Bureau of Investigation must prosecute him. The CPI(M) also has demanded his resignation.

The minister's nephew, V Singla, was arrested Friday by the CBI for allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs 90 lakh to fix a posting in the Railway Board.

According to the CBI, Railway Board member Mahesh Kumar was trying to get the post of Member (Electrical). He had agreed to pay a bribe of Rs 90 lakh first and then Rs 1.10 crore to Singla.

The Member (Electrical) has the final say in clearing tenders of over Rs 2000 crore worth of Railway projects that are in the pipeline.

Bansal, however, has distanced himself from his nephew, saying he had no business links with him.

BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad appealed to President Pranab Mukherjee to exercise his authority so that the Railway Minister is brought to book.

“Congress has reduced the government to a bazaar where every decision is tradeable. This is very shocking and distressing state of affair,” Prasad said.

Surprisingly, the Janata Dal (United) an ally of the BJP in the National Democratic Alliance, backed Bansal, with party President Sharad Yadav virtually absolving the Congress leader of any fault in the case.

Trinamool Congress leader Derek O' Brien called the incident “retail bribery” as the scam had fewer zeroes.

The Samajwadi Party, an ally of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance, said corrupt leaders should be suspended.

“The Prime Minister and Congress President Sonia Gandhi need to realise that it is the Railway Minister's nephew who has been arrested with Rs 90 lakh. Bansal should resign on moral grounds. Leaders who are corrupt should be suspended,” said SP national general secretary Ram Asrey Kushwaha.

Meanwhile, a special court in Mumbai granted the CBI transit remand of Kumar, who was arrested late Friday. He is likely to be shifted to Delhi on Saturday evening after the CBI gets a copy of the court's order.

On Friday night, the CBI arrested another person, Sandip Goyal, who is alleged to have assisted in brokering the deal.

All the accused have been booked under the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act.

On Saturday morning, the agency arrested two courier boys who allegedly delivered the bribe amount to Singla, taking the total number of persons arrested in the case to six.