CBI busts transfer racket at Army headquarters, arrests two

Lt colonel sent to 3-day CBI custody
Report by: 
Agencies
NEW DELHI
3 Jun 2017

The CBI has arrested a lt colonel and a middleman in connection with a transfer racket at the Army headquarters in which officers allegedly paid lakhs of rupees to manipulate their postings. Lt Col Ranganathan Suvramani Moni, posted in the personnel division of the Army, and middleman Gaurav Kohli were arrested while an alleged bribe of Rs 2 lakh was changing hands for the transfer of a Bengaluru based officer, CBI sources said today. The investigating agency had learnt of the illicit activities of some Army officers and laid a trap to arrest the two men. The agency busted the racket involving senior Army officers posted at its headquarters here. They were allegedly giving choice postings for "huge illegal gratification" which ran into lakhs for a single transfer, sources said. The expose is bound to send ripples in the Army as some more senior officers are suspected to be involved in the case, CBI sources said. The FIR also names Brigadier S K Grover, DDG Personnel, but his name has not been included in the list of accused. The case has been registered against Moni, Hyderabad- based army officer Purshottam, Bengaluru-based barracks and stores officer (BSO) S. Subhas and alleged middleman Gaurav Kohli. The bribe was being paid through hawala channels, the CBI FIR alleged. The agency is also probing how Army officers were ready to pay lakhs of rupees to get a posting of their choice. It is alleged that Moni entered into a criminal conspiracy with Kohli and Purshottam, an army officer posted in the engineer stores department (ESD), Kakinara, for influencing the transfer of various officers. Purshottam allegedly contacted army officers who were either posted in different field formations or faced imminent transfer and were desirous of getting posted to their preferred locations. He used to contact Kohli, who was close to senior officers in the personnel division of the army headquarters here. Kohli used these contacts to pursue transfers of army officers in lieu of huge illegal gratification, the FIR said. Purshottam allegedly requested Kohli to pursue the posting of one D S R K Reddy and Subhas in exchange for a huge bribe, it claimed. Both wanted to be posted from Bengaluru to Secunderabad or Visakhapatnam. Moni assured he would help getting Subhas transferred through a senior officers in the army headuquarters against payment of illegal gratification, it alleged. Subhas allegedly delivered Rs 5 lakh as bribe to Kohli through hawala operators. "...Kohli visited residence of...Moni and conducted a meeting with some senior officers at the army headquarter in Delhi. Information also reveal that...Moni is in contact with Brigadier SK Grover DDG (Personnel) of Army Headquarter for the transfer matter of Subhas," the CBI FIR stated. It is alleged that Rs 2 lakh was to be paid by Kohli to Moni for Subhas' transfer. Meanwhile, a special court here has sent a Lt Colonel and a 'middleman' to CBI custody for three days in connection with a transfer racket at Army headquarters here in which officers allegedly paid lakhs of rupees to manipulate their postings. Special CBI Judge Naresh Kumar Malhotra sent Lt Col Ranganathan Suvramani Moni, posted in the personnel division of the Army, and middleman Gaurav Kohli to the agency's custody yesterday after they were produced before it. Both the accused were arrested after a raid was conducted on Thursday night and produced in court the next day. Public prosecutor Amit Kumar sought five days police custody of the accused, while submitting before the court that "the larger conspiracy" needs to be unearthed as it is a big racket. He told the court that the accused were involved in giving posting of choice for huge illegal gratification, adding that senior officers were suspected to be a part of it and were likely to be arrested in the case. The court was told that the CBI was also trying to find out whether the accused had done similar crime in the past and who were the beneficiaries. The CBI also said that they needed voice samples of the accused and their custodial interrogation was required as they were to be confronted with each other, besides some "incriminating" evidence recovered during search. A bribe of Rs two lakh for the transfer of a Bengaluru based officer was also recovered from the premise, he told the court. The CBI told the court that an FIR was registered on June 1 against Moni, Hyderabad-based army officer Purshottam, Bengaluru-based barracks and stores officer (BSO) S Subhas and alleged middleman Gaurav Kohli for the various offences including alleged criminal conspiracy and corruption. The bribe was paid through hawala channels, the CBI alleged in its FIR. It alleged that Moni entered into a criminal conspiracy with Kohli and Purshottam, an army officer posted in the engineer stores department (ESD), Kakinara, for influencing the transfer of various officers. Purshottam allegedly contacted army officers who were either posted in different field formations or faced imminent transfer and were desirous of getting posted to their preferred locations. He used to contact Kohli, who was close to senior officers in the personnel division of Army headquarters here. Kohli used these contacts to pursue transfers of army officers for huge illegal gratification, the FIR said. Purshottam allegedly requested Kohli to pursue the posting of one D S R K Reddy and Subhas in exchange for bribe, it claimed. Both wanted to be posted from Bengaluru to Secunderabad or Visakhapatnam. Moni assured Subhas that he would help him get transferred through senior officers in the army headuquarters against payment of illegal gratification, it alleged.(PTI)