Saturday, November 12, 2011

Bribery-accused top postal officer suspended again

November 09, 2011

Chief postmaster general Manjit Singh Bali was suspended again on Tuesday in Mumbai

MUMBAI: Manjit Singh Bali, who was appointed as chief postmaster general of West Bengal on November 4 after an 18-month suspension, was suspended on Tuesday by the department of telecommunications (DoT).

In February 2010, Bali (59), then the chief postmaster general of Goa and Maharashtra, was suspended after he was caught by the CBI for accepting a bribe of Rs 2 crore.

“A departmental inquiry has begun against Bali (a 1978 batch Indian Postal Service officer). DoT issued his suspension order at 2 pm on Tuesday,” said a source from the general post office. The order stated: “He (Bali) shall not leave the Kolkata headquarters without obtaining prior permission from the competent authority.”

Bali had challenged his February 2010 suspension at the central administrative tribunal (CAT), which ordered his reinstatement on November 4 this year. The government is likely to challenge the tribunal’s order in court. A CBI officer said: “We had told the tribunal that he would influence witnesses and so opposed his reinstatement.” According to the CBI, former Mira-Bhayandar corporator Rita Shah had approached Bali on behalf of a builder in January 2010 for an NOC to develop a 2,000 sq mt Thane plot worth Rs 4 crore. Bali’s NOC was required as 25% of the land was to be used for a post office.

A CBI officer said that Shah got a call from Arun and Harsh Dalmiya of the Watermark Financial Consultancy, Nariman Point, asking her to meet them at their office. “There they demanded bribe on Bali’s behalf. When Shah met Bali again, he confirmed the demand. Shah then approached us (the CBI), which recorded on camera Bali’s visit to the plot accompanied by the Dalmiyas.

“When Shah went to the Dalmiyas’ office with the money, we apprehended the father-son duo accepting it. At the same time, we told them to play along till Bali was trapped. So, Harsh Dalmiya called up Bali and told him that the money had been received. Bali asked him to hand over the money at a restaurant at Badhwar Park in Cuffe Parade. We caught Bali red-handed accepting the money stuffed in a black bag.”

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