The CBI today arrested Delhi-based journalist Upendra Rai for allegedly indulging in dubious financial transactions and getting an airport access pass made by the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) by furnishing false information. Rai was questioned at the agency headquarters along with two others for the entire day before being arrested, officials said. Prasun Roy, chief security officer of Air One Aviation Pvt Ltd, was also booked by the Central Bureau of Investigation in the case, they said. The probe agency carried out searches at eight locations in Lucknow, Noida, Delhi and Mumbai, they said. In its FIR, the agency alleged that going by the value of transactions above Rs 1 lakh during 2017, Rai’s accounts received Rs 79 crore while Rs 78.51 crore was debited from it during the same period. “He allegedly purchased a fleet of cars out of the ill-gotten money. It is also learnt that he received Rs 16 crore in a year from shell companies for bribing and fixing cases in the Income Tax department. He also received Rs 6.5 crore from Sahara India in one year,” it alleged.
The agency said two persons, Rahul Sharma and Sanjay Snehi, allegedly assisted Rai to park the money. It also alleged that Rai in criminal conspiracy with Prasun Roy and others cheated the BCAS and the Delhi International Airport (DIAL) and fraudulently obtained a temporary and later a permanent Aerodrome Entry Pass (AEP). By getting the right to access all airports in the country, Rai jeopardised national security, the agency said. The CBI alleged that Rai in connivance with Roy submitted an application falsely showing himself as the director of quality control of the company to get the AEP. The company allegedly sponsored the name of Rai and forwarded the application to the BCAS, which “as a party to the criminal conspiracy” issued a permanent AEP in favour of Rai.
The AEP authorised him to access airports in violation of the laid down Air Operator Certification Guidelines and Civil Aviation Requirements, the CBI said. It said Rai was not technically qualified and his name was not approved by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation for the post of the director general of quality control of Air One. “A source has further informed us that in his application for issuance of Press Information Bureau card for the year 2018, the journalist had not declared himself as a bonafide employee i.e consultant or director, quality control of Air One,” it alleged. Rai also received Rs 1.02 crore from Air One in four installments, the CBI claimed.