IPS officer cries graft in Mamata Banerjee’s railway ministry

KOLKATA: Senior IPS officer Nazrul Islam has shot off a letter to the Union home ministry alleging corrupt practices in the railway ministry around 2010, when Mamata Banerjee had been the railway minister.

The officer, known for his all time controversial image, has alleged in the letter that he had been “used” by Mamata and her officer-on-special duty Gautam Sanyal to “collect more bribe from the then chief security commissioner (B S Sidhu).”

Islam claims that he has a “tell-all” CD about the way the railway ministry had let off a top officer despite documentary evidence of corruption against him.

Just to refresh the memory, Mamata had hand-picked Islam to serve as executive director (security), railways.

The explosive allegations come at a time the CBI – probing the Rs 10-crore railway bribery scam in which former railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal’s nephew Vijay Singla is among those arrested – is also zeroing in on appointments made during the time Trinamool ministers had been at the helm of the railway ministry.

how he was “used by them (Mamata and her officer-on-special duty Gautam Sanyal) to collect more bribe from then chief security commissioner (B S Sidhu).”

The 1981-batch IPS officer, who has faced the wrath of both the Left Front and the Trinamool governments, had sent a 76-page correspondence to Mamata only two months back, questioning her credentials. The trigger of his outburst was apparently a birthday greeting sent by the chief minister, supposedly in an attempt to win him back. Earlier, Islam had hit the headlines for penning books on Mamata’s ways of wooing the minority votebank.

In his five-page letter posted on May 10, Islam, who is currently entangled in court cases against the government, alleged that Mamata, as the then railway minister, had asked him to start an inquiry against the “corrupt” chief security commissioner (CSC). “The minister of railways, Mamata Banerjee, told me: ‘Sidhu is very corrupt. Suspend him. Throw him out'”.

The senior cop, now shunted in the non-functional post of ADG (provisioning), concludes: “I was used by them to collect more bribe from the chief security commissioner. I could not do what I should have done simply because my posting (director, security) was irregular….”

While conducting his inquiry, Islam had hit upon several pieces of documentary evidence against Sidhu, but later realized that the officer was given extension beyond his tenure at the behest of the railway minister.

“The ministry of railways did not send the draft charges to the ministry of home affairs. It did not pray for his (Sidhu’s) suspension. On the contrary, it released him without taking the MHA’s approval and simply wrote a letter to MHA and department of personnel and training (DoPT) citing some minor irregularities committed by him and his release from the ministry of railways.”

Referring to the CD, which reportedly shows a high-ranking RPF officer discussing the payoff, Islam has told people close to him that he could prove that Sidhu was let off in lieu of cash.

The letter talks about how Islam continued to believe that Mamata wasn’t involved and that only her officials, led by the OSD, were hand-in-glove with Sidhu, went on to complain to her. He showed her the “telling” CD, which pointed fingers at her own OSD (Gautam Sanyal). He alleges that Mamata called in Sanyal and admonished him in public, leading him to think that the issue had been resolved. “To my utter surprise nothing was done”, he writes.

Islam has sent a copy of the letter to Bengal director-general of police Napharajit Mukherjee and home secretary Basudeb Banerjee for forwarding his note to the ministry of home affairs.