CBI books Chennai Port Trust official in Rs 97-lakh bribery case: Officials

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New Delhi, Dec 17 (PTI) The CBI has booked a Chennai Port Trust official, who allegedly took a bribe of over Rs 97 lakh from an elderly man on the purported promise of getting his son appointed as an assistant traffic manager in the trust, officials said on Thursday.

It is alleged that K Poopathy, who worked as the personal assistant to the chief engineer of the trust and is currently under suspension, met complainant N Devaraj (63) on a train journey, they said.

During a conversation, Poopathy allegedly told Devaraj that the chief engineer has wide powers to appoint people in the port, the officials said.

He allegedly told Devaraj that by spending Rs one crore, his son Sathyaprakash, a diploma holder in mechanical engineering and shipping logistics, can get a job of assistant traffic manager in the port, which is a gazetted officer's position.

Based on his assurance, Devaraj allegedly paid over Rs 97 lakh in cash and cheques to the accused between December 17, 2016 and November 20, 2019, the officials said.

In order to secure a bright future for his son, Devaraj used his retirement funds, savings, pledged his daughter's gold jewellery at a local pawn shop, mortgaged his house as well as took loans from private persons on interest, they added.

Devaraj became suspicious of Poopathy as he stopped taking calls and coming for personal meetings, the officials said.

It is alleged that some unidentified people threatened Devaraj in February and took his signatures on a document that said all his payments to Poopathy were returned to him, they said.

Devaraj filed a complaint with the vigilance officer of the Chennai Port Trust, along with documents of transactions, mortgage, pawn receipts and audio recordings of conversations between Poopathy and his son Sathyaprakash, the officials said.

The Chennai Port Trust subsequently suspended Poopathy, they added.

Devaraj also approached the CBI with his complaint, which has now been taken up by the agency for investigation after registering an FIR against Poopathy under the Prevention of Corruption Act. PTI ABS RC