State-owned gas utility GAIL (India) Ltd on Wednesday confirmed suspension of its Director (Marketing) E S Ranganathan following his arrest by the CBI over allegedly taking bribes to give discounts on petrochemical products to private companies.
“This is to inform that President of India in exercise of the powers conferred by Rule 25 of GAIL Employees (Conduct Discipline and Appeal) Rules, 1986 placed Shri E. S. Ranganathan under suspension with effect from 18.01.2022,” the firm said in a regulatory filing. PTI had on Tuesday reported of his suspension. Ranganathan, who was appointed Director (Marketing) of GAIL in July 2020, was to superannuate in May next year.
The CBI had on January 14 registered a complaint in connection with discounts that Ranganathan had allegedly promised to private companies in exchange for a bribe of Rs 50 lakh. On Saturday, it searched Ranganathan’s residence in Noida and his office at GAIL’s headquarters at Bhikaji Cama Place. The office was sealed and Ranganathan was questioned. While CBI had arrested some persons of the private companies on Saturday itself, Ranganathan was arrested on January 16 after obtaining requisite sanctions, sources said.
Subsequent to his suspension, the ministry on Tuesday issued an order giving additional charge of director (marketing) to M.V. Iyer, Director (Business Development), GAIL.
GAIL said Iyer “has been entrusted with an additional charge of the post of Director (Marketing), GAIL for a period of three months from 18.01.2022 or till appointment of a regular incumbent to the post, or until further orders, whichever is the earliest.”
On Monday, the company had informed the stock exchanges that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered a FIR against Ranganathan and other private persons on charges of criminal conspiracy, demand and obtaining undue advantage by public servant, taking undue advantage to influence public servant, bribing public servant etc.
“Further, CBI searched at the premise(s) of Shri E S Ranganathan, Director (Marketing) of the Company and other private persons in connection with the said case,” it had said adding Ranganathan has also been arrested in connection with the said case.
“Company is not aware of any information other than those published or reported in the media,” it had said. “At this stage no estimated financial impact or estimated amount can be ascertained.”
The CBI had last week stated that it had unearthed the alleged bribery scam involving Ranganathan, middlemen, and businessmen and arrested five individuals on Saturday.
The central agency had conducted searches at eight locations including the office and residence of Ranganathan, they said. “Cash of Rs 1.29 crore (approx), and gold jewellery and other valuables (having app value of Rs 1.25 crore) recovered during searches from the premises of said accused (Ranganathan),” CBI Spokesperson RC Joshi had said on Sunday. It alleged that Ranganathan was collecting bribes from prospective beneficiaries of discounts to private companies buying petrochemical products marketed by the Maharatna PSU.