MoEF deputy director held for taking bribe, Rs 1 cr seized


The CBI on Thursday claimed to have recovered Rs 1.04 crore from a deputy director of the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF), who was arrested last night for allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs 7 lakh for procuring environmental clearance for an Orissa-based power and steel company.

The official, identified as Neeraj Khatri, 45, was reportedly found to own properties worth Rs 5 cr in the NCR. The alleged middleman, Rai Sri Chinmaya Srichandan, has also been arrested. Both were sent to four days police custody Thursday.

According to CBI officials, Srichandan owns S S Environics, a Bhubaneswar-based consultant firm which allegedly lobbied for environment clearance for Chariot Steel and Power Pvt Ltd's Raiboga limestone mine in Orissa. The matter was scheduled to be discussed by the reconstituted expert appraisal committee on Thursday.

The agency has also named Srichandan's father, Rai Sri Achutananda Srichandan, in its FIR and is set to summon the owners and promoters of Chariot Steel. Both S S Environics and Chariot Steel could not be contacted.

The CBI seized Rs 82.50 lakh in cash from Khatri's residence in Gurgaon Sector 45, and another Rs 21.50 lakh from his apartment in Rohtak. Property papers in the names of his family members, including two flats in Gurgaon and one each in Chandigarh, Rohtak and Sonepat, were also seized.

Khatri is alleged to have taken bribes for arranging clearances for private mining companies in Orissa, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh in the past also.

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