Bansal's brush with scam not new, named in shops scam

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New Delhi, May 4: Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal has become master of denials, in the face of strong evidence. In 2010 he was named in shop allotment scam in Chandigarh and CBI case was recommended by the official.

Yesterday, Bansal's nephew Vijay Singla was arrested by the CBI, which also held Mahesh Kumar, a Member of the Railway Board in connection with alleged bribery of Rs 90 lakh for fixing job poisition in Railway Board.

Today, Bansal claimed "regarding yesterday's incident involving my sister's firm in a CBI raid at Chandigarh, I have to say that I have no knowledge or proof about the matter at all. Though a close relative, he or any other relative of mine does not and cannot meddle in my official function or influence my decision.There is also no business relationship between his and my family."

Bansal's nephew has been arrested for taking bribe to fix top appointments in his uncle's ministry, and going by the Indian stadards of relations and relatives, this kind of deal cannot happen without the knowledge of the minister.
Board member Mahesh Kumar, recently appointed as Member (Staff) was trying to get a lucrative position as Member (Electrical).

Bansal's brush with scams is not new. In 2010, Chandigarh Administrator Shivraj V Patil had ordered a probe into irregularities in the allotment of over 2,500 booths during 2002-2008. Bansal is Chandigarh MP and a 700-page probe report had said "booth mafia has the protection of Pawan Kumar Bansal, Local MP and Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Science and Technology, Government of India." The report was prepared when Bansal was and Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Science and Technology and he became rail minister last year.

"The financial dimension of the fraud committed by the booth-mafia runs into crores of rupees, which include the money paid to the officers/officials of the Estate Office, Chandigarh Police, funds given to the politicians and money generated to illegal sale/subletting of booths," said the report by an official of the administration.

During the budget session in 2011, the BJP tried to corner Bansal on this report.

In Lok Sabha, leader of opposition Sushma Swaraj presented report of an inquiry conducted by a bureaucrat against Bansal. The latter, however, claimed it was not a magisterial probe but internal work of an officer.

"I am ready to face a CBI probe and will resign from Lok Sabha if the charges are found to be correct," Bansal said, terming the accusation "baseless and a cheap gimmick".

"This is an effort to vilify me. I will quit parliament forever if the charges are proved correct," he said.
The officer, who had conducted the inquiry had recommended a CBI inquiry into the scandal involving crores.

What is Bansal's shop scam?

According to The Indian Express, the case dates back to 1989, when the Bajwara market in Sector 22-D caught fire. Certain "unscrupulous" elements, connived with officials of the Estate Office and procured hawkers' licences, so that they could become eligible for allotment of booths, in lieu of damage to their shops, the report has said.

There is a legal provision to renew all such licences annually by paying Rs 350 per annum; but no such licence was ever renewed in 17 years. The licences were finally renewed by the Estate Office after the draw of lots had already been held and illegal allotments made, the report states.

When genuine applicants, who failed to get booths in lieu of their gutted shops, approached the police and the Chandigarh Administration, fake affidavits were made with the alleged connivance of officials and fraudulent allotments were made. Inquiries were marked to police officers who too allegedly connived with the "booth-mafia".

The report says several bogus surveys and inspections were done by the Estate Office, further strengthening the claims of illegal allottees.

The report has indicted eight Estate Office officials for allegedly conniving with the "booth mafia" and getting illegal allotments made in favour of ineligible people. It says:

"All surveys of the Bajwara market, Sector 22-D, were stage-managed by the officers/officials of the Estate Office."

The report had suggested a criminal case against those indicted. However, nothing further was heard on the case, and now another scam has hit Bansal.

OneIndia News.

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