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Commissioner of Central Excise among four arrested for bribery

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Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu, Feb 21 (UNI) Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) sleuths today arrested a Central Excise Commissioner, Tiruchirapalli, and three of his subordinates on bribery charges.

Police said the four accused -- A D Khadtare, Commissioner (Appeals), Tiruchirapalli, Superintendents Jayaraman and Elangovan and an office assistant -- were arrested by a five-member CBI team at the Central Excise office in a well-planned operation.

Initial reports stated that Mr Khadtare allegedly demanded a bribe of Rs 50,000 from the owner of Balaji steels, a Pudukottai-based private company for doing an official favour.

They will be remanded to judicial custody at Madurai, the sources added.

After the arrests, the agency was conducting raids at their residential and official premises since morning.

The Department of Central Excise had issued a notice to the mill in 1998 demanding excise duty of Rs 4.77 lakh.

In August 2005, the department had issued another notice demanding Rs 5.93 lakh interest on the amount.

Sathyamurthy had appealed the Central Excise department for reduction of the penalty.

Khadtare allegedly demanded 10 percent of the penalty as bribe through Superintendent Elangovan to reduce the penalty amount.

As Sathyamurthy did not want to pay, he informed the CBI about the alleged bribe demand.

The agency arranged a trap and caught red-handed all the officials with the bribe money.

Elangovan had accepted the money and handed over it to Khadtare in his chamber in front of Sathyamurthy. After coming out of the room, he signalled the CBI team.

When the CBI team raided the office of Khadtare, the money was found with a contigency staff. Khadtare had allegedly given the money to Jayaraj, who in turn had handed over it to the contingency staff, the CBI official said.

UNI GS/PAT MSJ RN2336

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