RAIPUR: The CBI arrested senior Chhatisgarh bureaucrat B L Agrawal on Tuesday for allegedly paying Rs 1.5 crore in bribe to settle two CBI cases against him.
CBI sources said Agrawal, a 1988-batch IAS officer serving as principal secretary (higher education), was arrested from Raipur and brought to Delhi, where he was taken to court in the evening.
The arrest came after the investigation agency seized Rs 20 lakh in cash and 2kg gold — allegedly one of the instalments of the bribe — from his office and other premises over the last couple of days.
The CBI also raided the premises of two fellow suspects, Bhagwan Singh and Syed Burhanuddin — the men Agrawal allegedly paid the bribe — in Greater Noida and Hyderabad. Agrawal reportedly paid the bribe through a ‘hawala’ agent.
A senior CBI officer said the agency had registered two cases, pertaining to allegations of corruption and criminal conspiracy, against Agrawal in 2010, after the income tax department allegedly found him to be in possession of properties worth around Rs 93 crore. Agrawal was posted as agriculture secretary in the state at the time. He was also booked by the economic offences wing (EOW) and anti-corruption bureau for some other alleged crimes, following which the state government suspended him.
Agrawal was later chargesheeted by the CBI in one of the cases, but the EOW and anti-corruption bureau cases fell through for lack of evidence. Agrawal’s suspension was revoked and he was eventually promoted as principal secretary. According to CBI officials, Agrawal then got in touch with Singh for help to get the CBI cases against him settled.
“Singh introduced him to his associate Burhanuddin, who told the IAS officer that he worked in the PMO and assured him that the cases would be settled in his favour,” said an investigator. The officials, however, said Hyderabad-based Burhanuddin did not work for the government in any capacity, and he and Singh sought to cheat the IAS officer. Burhanuddin demanded Rs 1.5 crore from Agrawal, to be paid in cash and gold, CBI claimed.