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Labour officers held for Rs 1.30-lakh bribe

Five persons — a Deputy Chief Labour Commissioner, Labour Enforcement Officer, both posted in Chandigarh, two partners of a Bathinda-based private firm and an employee of a private construction company — have been arrested by the CBI in a Rs 1.30-lakh bribe case.

 

Those arrested are Mahesh Chand Sharma, Deputy Chief Labour Commissioner, Vivek Naik, Labour Enforcement Officer, Akhand Raj Singh of Nagarjuna Construction Company Ltd, Bathinda, and Gurmeet Singh and Munish Garg, both from Advantage HR Solutions, Bathinda.

 

The CBI had a tip-off about some persons acting as middlemen between industrialists, contractors and government officials. “These persons used to negotiate and collect illegal gratification from industrialists and contractors in lieu of extending favours to them by facilitating relief in the matter of inspections carried out in their business establishments,” CBI sleuths said.

 

Acting on the information, CBI sleuths, on May 30, laid a trap at Hotel Western Court, Sector 10, Panchkula, where the suspects were supposed to meet. The Labour Enforcement Officer and three persons met at the hotel.

 

The CBI sleuths claimed that while leaving the hotel, Gurmeet handed over a packet containing the money to Vivek Naik. Acting swiftly, the CBI officials nabbed all suspects.

“Naik claimed that he had taken a bribe of Rs 1.30 lakh, which was to be shared with the Deputy Chief Labour Commissioner, following which he was asked to call his senior and inform him about having received the bribe money,” CBI sources said. Following the call, the Deputy Chief Labour Commissioner was also arrested. Searches were carried out at offices and houses of the suspects and some documents were recovered, which are yet to be scrutinised. 

 

What had happened

According to the CBI, Vivek Naik had conducted an inspection on the premises of Nagarjuna Construction Company Ltd in Bathinda on May 8. Naik detected certain irregularities in the records maintained by the management relating to compliance of labour laws and provisions of the EPF. The same day, Akhand Raj Singh, an employee of the construction company, informed Gurmeet regarding the inspection and claimed that despite paying Rs 30,000 on a quarterly basis, the inspection was carried out and the records checked. On May 15, Gurmeet contacted Naik, who then asked him to arrange bribe money from Nagarjuna Construction Company.

 

Source: The Tribune