Journalist Upendra Rai held after dubious transactions worth crores detected

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New Delhi, May 3 (IANS) The CBI on Thursday arrested senior journalist Upendra Rai for dubious transactions in his accounts to the tune of over Rs 100 crore during 2017-2018 and also using false information to obtain access to sensitive areas through Aerodrome Entry Pass (AEP) for all airports across the country.

Rai, who was taken into custody here and was being questioned, is accused of committing the offence in connivance with the officials of aviation company Air One Aviation Pvt Ltd and some public servants of Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS).

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed an FIR on Tuesday naming Upendra Rai, Air One Aviation Pvt Ltd, its Chief Security Officer Prasun Roy, some unidentified public servants of BACS and others.

The agency on Thursday also searched eight places in Delhi, Noida, Lucknow and Mumbai in connection with the case.

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Rai, owner of Printlines Media Group and formerly employed with Tehelka, Roy, some public servants and other private persons were questioned by the CBI at its headquarters here, a CBI official said.

The CBI has found that in 2017, Rai’s bank accounts show credit of Rs 79 crore with several transactions of over Rs one lakh each, while in the same period, the accounts reflect debit amount of Rs 78.51 crore.

Rai, the CBI said, has purchased a fleet of cars out of the ill-gotten money. “It is also learnt that he has received Rs 16 crore in one year from shell companies for bribing or fixing case in Income Tax and that he has received about Rs 6.5 crore from Sahara India in one year.”

The CBI said that two persons — Rahul Sharma, a resident of Palam in west Delhi, and Sanjay Snehi, a resident of Laxmi Nagar in east Delhi– assist Rai to park the ill-gotten money.

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A resident of Greater Kailash in south Delhi, Rai is also accused conspiring with Roy and others with an intent to obtain AEPs on false information for gaining access to the restricted areas of airports in India.

The CBI FIR said that Rai managed to get the first AEP in January 2017 showing himself as a permanent employee of Air One to gain access at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport. He renewed the pass in April 2017 before its expiry after 90 days.

In June 2017, he applied for permanent AEP and managed to get it with its validity upto December 2018, it said.

“Air One sponsored Upendra Rai’s name as its employee whenever he applied for the AEPs and forwarded his applications to the BCAS, which in-turn forwarded these applications to the Delhi International Airport Ltd without verifying his genuineness.”

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Rai also managed to get all India airport AEP with the help of Roy by falsely showing himself as Director Quality Control of Air One, said the FIR, noting he was not technically qualified and his name was not approved by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation for the post

“In his application for issuance of Press Information Bureau (PIB) card for the year 2018, Upendra Rai has not declared himself as employee of Air One,” the FIR said.

The CBI also found that Rai had paid an amount of Rs 13,92,000 on January 2, through his account, to Airone Charters Pvt Ltd, the parent firm of Air One Aviation Pvt Ltd.

–IANS

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