CBI may question Ram Vilas Paswan in Bokaro recruitment case

Written by Press Trust of India | New Delhi | Updated: Feb 26 2014, 01:18am hrs
Ram Vilas PaswanSuch actions cannot be taken at the level of lower rung staff without the approval of the minister concerned. Reuters
CBI may question former Union Steel Minister Ram Vilas Paswan in connection with alleged illegalities in the Bokaro Steel plant recruitment process in which relatives of some high-profile personalities are under the scanner of the agency.

Paswan, who is negotiating seating arrangements in Bihar for the upcoming general elections, has come under the lens following recovery of some documents which, agency sources claimed, indicate that his staff may have been actively involved in extending favours to some candidates.

"Such actions cannot be taken at the level of lower rung staff without the approval of the minister concerned. We may question him (Paswan) in this connection. A final decision when the questioning would take place may be taken as the probe progresses," a senior CBI official said.

The sources said documents submitted by some successful candidates have Paswan's seals, his official address 12, Janpath and supporting letters from his staff recommending their names for the position in the Bokaro steel plant.

Paswan was Union minister for chemicals, fertilizers and steel during the UPA government between May 2004 and May 2009 and these allegedly fraudulent appointments were made during his tenure.

In January, CBI had registered two separate cases related to alleged irregularities in the appointments in the middle and junior management level in the public sector undertaking in 2008 in which a former Executive Director of the plant and other former senior officers have also been named as accused.

They said the agency has named Junior Managers S M Razi, Rajkumar Jatia and Yogesh Chandra Patnaik. They are relatives of a former governor, a former central minister, who is now a Rajya Sabha candidate, and a former High Court judge respectively as accused in the FIRs.

It is alleged that these candidates were among those favoured in the appointment process.

A Deputy Manager, Ritesh, who was also appointed in a similar fashion, has also been named by CBI in an FIR.

CBI sources alleged that the officials of the steel plant entered in a criminal conspiracy in the appointment process by not giving adequate publicity to the appointment advertisement and accepting applications after due dates and in violation of norms by hand or by courier thus favouring these candidates.

CBI has registered these cases under Indian Penal Code sections of cheating, forgery and relevant provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act.

Some retired officials of the Bokaro Steel plant who held senior positions at the time of appointment, including then Executive Director Jivesh Mishra, were named in an FIR as accused.

"It has been alleged that around 13 candidates were favoured and got selected for the posts of middle and junior management level at Bokaro Steel Plant by adopting fraudulent recruitment and selection process," CBI had earlier said in a statement.

The agency carried out searches at 40 locations in nine cities Bokaro, Ranchi, Patna, Arrah (Bihar), Ghaziabad, New Delhi, Bhilai, Bhopal, Jabalpur and Bhubaneshwar including the premises of Jatia, Razi and Patnaik and their parents, the sources said.