Chandigarh, May 5: In an embarrassment to the ruling SAD-BJP alliance, Raj Khurana, BJP MLA and Chief Parliamentary Secretary (Finance) and a state government official were today arrested by the CBI for allegedly demanding a bribe of Rs.1.5 crore for closing a complaint against an association.
The two were later produced before a Special CBI Judge Ritu Tagore who remanded them in CBI custody for two days.
Khurana and the official identified as Devinder Singh, a Chandigarh resident and working with the Registrar, Firms & Societies, were arrested this morning under section 8 of the Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA) after a night long raid and search at the residence of the CPS in the high security ministerial and senior officers residential complex in Sector 39.
The BJP legislator from Rajpura in Patiala district was the second MLA of the ruling SAD-BJP alliance to have been caught on the wrong side of the law during this week.
Earlier on Monday a court in Mohali had convicted CPS (Agriculture) Sohan Singh Thandal, an SAD MLA from Mahilpur in Hoshiarpur district, in a corruption and disproportionate assets case following which he quit the post.
CBI has registered a case against Singh on the basis of a complaint received from Secretary of Punjab Automobile Mechanic Association alleging demand of bribe of Rs.1.5 Crore for closing the complaint against the Association without any action.
The accused allegedly told the complainant that he has approached a Minister in Punjab Cabinet through Chief Parliamentary Secretary (Khurana) for closing the complaint, the CBI said in a press release later.
The complainant, according to the release, said that initially an amount of Rs.2 Crore was demanded for settling this matter but, however, it was reduced to Rs.1.5 Crore. The official also stated that the bribe amount has to be delivered at the residence of Khurana.
The CBI said that a trap was laid Khurana's residence of last night.
The CBI counsel during his arguments in the court of the Special Judge contended that it had recovered Rs 15 lakh in cash from the dickey of the car of Singh besides nine cheques amounting to Rs 1.35 Crore.
He said that they had a tape of conversation between Singh, Khurana and the complaint belonging to the association.
The defence counsel objected to the allegation of the prosecution saying that he was hearing it for the first time that bribe had been paid through cheques. The cheques recovered as bribe money should be produced in the court along with the tape of the recorded conversation, he demanded.
The CBI counsel said that during the conversation the name of a senior minister (belonging to the BJP) had cropped up and this angle was being investigated. Both the arrested need to be confronted on this issue, he added.
The CBI contended that Singh had assured the complainant that he had spoken to Khurana who had already taken up the matter with the senior minister.
According to the CBI release, the accused also threatened that in case of non-payment of the bribe amount, control of the Association shall be taken over by the Government and a criminal case will be registered against the office bearers of the Association.
Searches are being conducted at the residence of both the accused persons, the release said adding that investigations were on. PTI