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CBI arrests one more in NALCO graft case

New Delhi: A Delhi-based executive of a Madhya Pradesh company was on Tuesday arrested by the CBI in connection with the alleged bribery case involving NALCO CMD A K Srivastava.

Ratan Pal, a representative of Bhatia group of companies, was later produced before a city court which sent him to CBI custody till March 5.

"A Delhi-based executive of a Madhya Pradesh-based company was arrested today in connection with the bribery case and presented before special CBI court," official spokesperson of the agency said.

According to the CBI, Pal had paid Rs 20 lakh bribe to the conduit B L Bajaj for delivery to the NALCO Chairman-cum- Managing Director on behalf of the Bhatia groups of Companies.

"The allegations on the face of it are quite serious and are required to be investigated thoroughly. Accordingly, I am satisfied that the prayer for police custody remand of the accused is justified," Special CBI judge O P Saini said.

The agency said there is "incriminating" evidence in the transcript of the recorded conversation between Pal and Bajaj for balance payment of Rs 40 lakh.

The defence counsel opposed CBI`s plea saying that his client`s (Pal) arrest was wholly unjustified as he was fully cooperating with the investigating agency and had appeared before it as and when he was directed to do so.

Pal is the fifth person to be arrested in this case.

The agency has arrested Srivastava, his wife Chandani, Bajaj and his wife Anita on charges of accepting illegal gratification and recovered 10 kg of gold bricks worth Rs 2.11 crore from a bank locker and nearly Rs 30 lakh in cash from their possession.

The court today sent Chandani and Anita to judicial custody.

The team had nabbed Chandani along with Anita just after the duo had allegedly deposited gold bricks in a locker in Bank of Maharashtra, UPSC branch in New Delhi.

The agency had yesterday recovered Rs 21 lakh allegedly from the lcokers of Srivastava in Noida and also carried out searches on Bhatia Group of Companies from where crucial documents were recieved.

CBI had further said Bajaj was working as a conduit between coal suppliers and Srivastava.

Bajaj, the agency said, was having close links with Bhatia and used three phone numbers to talk to him.

The Bhatia group is engaged in trading of imported and indigenous coal with various private companies and PSU`s through its company M/s Bhatia International Ltd and Bhatia Coal Sales Ltd located in Indore.

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