GAIL Director held by CBI in bribery case, sent to one day agency custody

On Saturday, the CBI had arrested five persons in this connection. They were identified as Pawan Gaur, Ramakrishnan Nair, Rajesh Kumar, Saurabh Gupta, and Aditya Bansal.

The CBI on Sunday arrested GAIL's Director, Marketing, E.S. Ranganathan in a case of alleged bribery. He was later sent to the agency's custody for one day.

On Saturday, the CBI had arrested five persons in this connection. They were identified as Pawan Gaur, Ramakrishnan Nair, Rajesh Kumar, Saurabh Gupta, and Aditya Bansal.

"GAIL official, E.S. Ranganathan, the Director, Marketing, has been arrested by us for allegedly taking bribes from businessmen for issuing discount orders on purchasing of petro products. Five persons were arrested yesterday

"We have got custodial remand of all of them. The court granted six days police custody to Gaur, Nair, and Rajesh Kumar and one day police custody of Ranganathan, Gupta, and Bansal," said a senior CBI official.

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The CBI had on Saturday conducted raids at the residence of Ranganathan and several NCR-based locations in connection with an alleged bribe case.

Cash of Rs 1.29 crore, gold jewellery worth Rs 1.3 crore and other valuables were recovered during the searches at the premises of the accused.

A CBI official said that a case was lodged in this respect on Friday after it got information that Ranganathan was indulging in corrupt and illegal activities in criminal conspiracy with Gaur and Rajesh Kumar.

These two persons were allegedly acting as his middlemen, by obtaining bribes from the private companies buying petro chemical products marketed by GAIL.

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"We were informed that at the direction of Rajesh, Pawan had asked Ranganathan for allowing some discount to the buyers on petrochemical products being marketed by GAIL in lieu of illegal gratification. They met at Noida several times," said a CBI source.

In order to collect bribe amount, Rajesh Kumar had further contacted other dealers, who could be the prospective beneficiaries of the discount.

In December, Rajesh Kumar collected the demanded bribe amount from beneficiary parties and delivered it to Pawan for Ranganathan.

"On the direction of Ranganathan, Gurugram-based businessman N.Ramakrishnan Nair collected the Rs 40 lakh from Gaur.

Rajesh Kumar also entered into negotiations with two more prospective beneficiary dealers, namely Gupta and Bansal, and convinced them to pay the bribe in exchange for the favourable orders from GAIL, an official said.

The CBI official said that Rajesh Kumar requested Gupta for fulfilling his commitment for issuance of the discount order by GAIL and also informed that Ranganathan had demanded Rs 15 lakh but agreed to take Rs 12 lakh.

Gaur also asked Gupta to pay the amount at the earliest.

Gupta had already given Rs 3 lakh to Rajesh Kumar and decided to pay the rest of the amount through hawala channel.

On January 14, Bansal also gave a bribe to Rajesh Kumar for Ranganathan.

"Ranganathan, on the request of Gaur and Rajesh Kumar, got some checks conducted in the month of November, in the premises of some authorised stockists of GAIL. However, before the said surprise check, Ranganathan had also cautioned some of his favoured parties. Thus they committed huge fraud and we lodged a case under the Prevention of Corruption Act," said the CBI official.

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