The CBI arrested an appraiser of the customs department on Tuesday morning in a case of alleged bribery of Rs 7 lakh which led to recovery of a total of Rs 1 crore cash during searches at multiple locations in Chennai and Delhi, officials said.
Saurav Sharma, who was the customs appraiser at Inland Container Depot (ICD) in Tugalakabad and presently posted at the office of Chief Commissioner Customs, Chennai, was taken into custody along with customs house agent Neeraj, middleman Ram Krishan Mishra and a private person Kishore Kumar, they said.
According to the officials, the CBI had got to know that after Sharma's transfer to Chennai, he had been allegedly collecting his pending bribes for favours granted during his ICD tenure.
A case of corruption was registered against Sharma. He and his contacts were put under surveillance to verify inputs about his nefarious activities, they said. The intelligence developed by the CBI showed that after his transfer to Chennai, Sharma was allegedly pursuing private parties and a few officials regularly for payment of pending bribes in lieu of import consignments cleared by him during his tenure at ICD in Tuglakabad, officials.
"It was also alleged that various parties had been approaching the middleman to pursue their pending matters with the said appraiser," CBI spokesperson R K Gaur said. In one such case, Sharma allegedly asked Ram Krishan Mishra that Kishore Kumar will collect Rs 7 lakh from him as bribe, the officials said.
On getting the information, the CBI arrested Mishra, Kumar and a customs house agent Neeraj and recovered the bribe amount, they said. The agency started a search operation at Delhi, Noida, Chennai and the previous office of Sharma at ICD Tugalakabad which are going on even after 36 hours, officials said.
"Searches led to recovery of incriminating documents and cash of around Rs 1 crore," Gaur said. Recently, the CBI had recovered Rs 64 lakh cash during searches at Superintendent in CGST department, Rohtak, Kuldeep Hooda's residence in connection with a Rs 9 lakh-bribery case, officials said.
Sources said that several other customs officers are under the CBI scanner for their alleged corrupt activities.