DRM among 5 railway officials held for accepting bribe for awarding work contracts

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New Delhi, Jul 8 (PTI) Five railways officials, including the Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) of the South Central Railway, were arrested for allegedly accepting cash and jewellery to award project contracts, officials said.

The CPRO of the South Central Railway said that the matter was being investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

The CBI arrested the accused on July 5, 2024, after they allegedly received huge bribes "in the award of various tenders, in the execution of awarded works and expeditious processing of the bills." Besides the DRM Vineet Singh, the other senior officials, Kunda Pradeep Babu, Sr Divisional Finance Manager and U Akki Reddy, Sr Divisional Engineer, were also arrested.

Acting on a tip-off, CBI prepared a list of ornaments Singh accepted as a bribe and conducted search proceedings on July 4 and July 5, 2024, at his residential premises. It recovered one diamond studded necklace and one pair of diamond studded earpieces were recovered, the CBI said in their statement.

When asked about other items, "Shri Vineet Singh informed that he hid the said item behind a portion of the washbasin pedestal of the washroom attached to a room adjacent to the master bedroom, and he showed the place where he hid that item to all the present,” the statement said. The officials seized the recovered items.

"A railway official of DRM level handles projects worth several crores of rupees in the division. Besides, they are very well-paid with very handsome salaries as well as perks. I fail to understand what compelled him to indulge in such corrupt practices," a DRM, presently posted in one of the railway divisions, said.

According to another DRM, "It is rare in the history of the railway that DRMs were arrested for asking for bribes for giving contracts. I will call it shameful and unfortunate." Meanwhile, railway trade unions were surprised at Singh's sudden transfer from Sambalpur Rail Division to Guntukul in January 2024.

"Arrested DRM Vineet Singh was shifted from Sambalpur Rail Division (East Coast Zone) to Guntakal Division (South Central Railway) in January 2024. It is very surprising to note that Singh replaced Manish Agarwal who had completed only six months in Guntakal. He had not even completed one year. I don’t know what was the compulsion for this sudden transfer?" National Federation of Indian Railwaymen (NFIR), General Secretary M Raghavaiah said.

According to railway officials, a DRM normally serves his tenure for two years at one division.

"I think Railways should give top most priority to integrity before it appoints DRMs,” Raghavaiah said. PTI JP JP HIG HIG

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