Delhi hawala operator held, over 50 quizzed in EC bribery case

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New Delhi, April 28 (IANS) A hawala operator from old Delhi, Naresh Jain, was arrested here on Friday in connection with sidelined AIADMK leader T.T.V. Dinakaran’s alleged offer of Rs 50 crore in bribes to the Election Commission officials, the Delhi Police said.

One more associate of Chandni Chowk-based Jain was also detained at the airport here. He is being questioned about his role in the illegal money transfer related to the case, the police said.

A Delhi court later sent Naresh Jain aka Nathu Singh to two-day police custody.

Special Judge Poonam Chaudhary allowed the Delhi Police to quiz Jain till April 30, observing the serious nature of the case and gravity of the offence.

“Teams of Crime Branch, which is investigating the case, have questioned over 50 people so far in this connection, including Dinakaran’s close relatives, family members, employees, personal assistant and close friends. Their statements have been recorded during this process of questioning of Dinakaran,” a senior Delhi Police officer told IANS.

Dinakaran’s alleged middleman Sukesh Chandrashekhar was remanded in judicial custody till May 12 after the police said he is no more required for custodial interrogation.

The police sought custodial interrogation of Jain on the ground that he is required to identify other accused and help ascertain the money trail in the case.

The police said Jain, who was arrested from his hideout on a tip-off, helped Chandrashekhar in transferring the money from Chennai to Delhi.

“Jain helped Chandrashekhar to arrange Rs 10 crore in Delhi, which was part of Dinakaran’s deal to bribe Election Commission officials to ensure favourable decision in the allocation of ‘two leaves’ poll symbol to Dinakaran’s aunt V.K. Sasikala’s faction,” the police officer told IANS.

The police are examining the Call Details Record of Jain and those at his residence in Chandni Chowk, he said.

The arrest came after Thursday’s operation at Dinakaran’s house and interrogation of his family members, including wife and employees, in Chennai.

Dinakaran had given a task to Chandrashekhar to secure the ‘two leaves’ symbol of the AIADMK for the Sasikala faction from the Election Commission in lieu of a Rs 50-crore bribe.

The Crime Branch of Delhi Police earlier seized about Rs 1.3 crore and two luxury cars from Chandrashekhar during a raid at a south Delhi hotel.

Dinakaran was cross-examined along with his ‘friend’ Mallikarjuna and Private Assistant Janardhanan, the police said.

A team of crime branch is looking for other middlemen — including Chennai-based bureaucrats and officials of the Election Commission — who were in touch with Chandrashekhar and Dinakaran in this money transfer process.

Police teams also raided their residences in search of possible leads to establish Dinakaran’s involvement, the police officer said.

Some more persons who aided Dinakaran, Chandrashekhar, Jain and Mallikarjuna in transferring Rs 10 crore could be arrested soon. The teams have identified some suspects, including some Chennai advocates, the police officer added.

Meanwhile, Chandrashekhar moved a bail application which the court has listed for hearing on May 1.

–IANS

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