CBI recovers Rs 1 crore from deputy director of environment ministry

Neeraj Kumar Khatri is technical officer whose opinion is considered by expert appraisal committee for grant of environment clearances

By Akshay Deshmane
Published: Friday 18 January 2013

A deputy director of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), Neeraj Kumar Khatri, was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday night after he was caught accepting a bribe of Rs 7 lakh for allegedly helping a Bhubaneswar-based mining firm obtain environment clearance. CBI officers later recovered over Rs 1 crore and documents relating to properties he owns during search raids carried out at his premises in Delhi, Gurgaon and Rohtak.

CBI also arrested the person who paid the bribe to Khatri, consultant Chinmayanand Srichandar who sought to push the case of Odisha-based Chariot Cements Private Limited for securing clearance to mine limestone. Srichandar and his father run a consultancy firm, S S Environics Pvt Ltd.

The proposal for environment clearance was scheduled for consideration by the reconstituted Expert Appraisal Committee (Non Coal Mining) on Thursday. Khatri is a technical officer whose opinion is considered by the committee while making a decision about clearances, CBI sources said.

“We found that the deputy director has several flats—two in Gurgaon, one in Rohtak and Chandigarh each, among other places. Though these can be accounted for, the cash certainly cannot be,” the CBI spokesperson said.

Both the arrested persons were produced on Thursday before the special CBI court at Patiala House district courts.

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