New Delhi, July 3: BJP today claimed that the CBI move to give a "clean chit" to former Railway Minister P K Bansal in the cash-for-transfer scam by not naming him in the charge sheet is an attempt to protect the Prime Minister as the links would go all the way to the top, including the PMO.
"CBI has given a clean chit to former Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal. New facts about all that is behind this are coming to light which should be made public. This clean chit establishes that CBI has now become a tool in the hands of the government. CBI is trying to protect the PMO and the PM," BJP spokesperson Vijay Sonkar Shastri told reporters.
The party alleged that like in the case of the coal allocation scam, 'railgate' also goes up to the PMO. "The clean chit to Bansal is an attempt to keep under wraps the role of the PMO in the appointment of the Railway Board member (Mahesh Kumar)," Shastri said.
He insisted that since the Railway Board member's post is equivalent to that of a Joint Secretary, the nod for his appointment has to come from the DoPT which falls under the Prime Minister's Office. Bansal has not been named in the charge sheet as this would lead the trail to the PMO, he said. Hence, the transfer of Mahesh Kumar- for which the alleged bribe of Rs 1 crore was being paid- was done with the knowledge of the PMO.
Shastri sought to know if Bansal had opened the post of Railway Board member up for bidding. "The CBI report says there are records of 80 hours of phone conversations between Mahesh Kumar and Bansal's nephew (Vijay Singla). These calls were made from the Railway Minister's office and his residence," he said.
Singla and Kumar have been named in the CBI charge sheet. "Either the calls were made in the presence of the Railway Minister (by Singla) or at his behest. The minister's nephew was caught with Rs 90 lakh," Shastri said.
BJP said keeping Bansal out of the CBI charge sheet appears to be an exercise to protect the Prime Minister and the PMO.
The party compared this to coalgate and maintained that just as the then Union minister Ashwani Kumar had made changes in the CBI status report on the scam to protect the Prime Minister, Bansal's name was not mentioned in the charge sheet for a similar motive.
The main Opposition said the files pertaining to the appointment of a new member of the Railway Board were first cleared by Bansal then sent to the PMO for its approval as the official is equivalent to a Joint Secretary.
"We demand that CBI name Pawan Bansal as an accused in the charge sheet. Only then the real truth will come out. This is a very serious matter. This case strengthens BJP's demand that the Prime Minister should resign," Shastri said.