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CBI hires Chennai Port Trust official in Rs 97-lakh bribery case: officials

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The CBI has hired a Chennai Port Trust official, who allegedly accepted a bribe of more than Rs 97 lakh from an elderly man with the alleged promise that his son would be appointed assistant traffic manager in the trust, authorities said Thursday .

K Poopathy, who worked as a personal assistant to the trust’s chief engineer and is currently suspended, is alleged to have met whistleblower N Devaraj (63) on a train trip, they said.

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

He allegedly told Devaraj that by spending Rs one crore, his son Sathyaprakash, a graduate in mechanical engineering and shipping logistics, can get a job as an assistant to the traffic manager at the port, which is the official officer position.

According to his guarantee, Devaraj allegedly paid more than Rs 97 lakh in cash and checks to the defendant between December 17, 2016 and November 20, 2019, officials said.

In order to secure a bright future for her son, Devaraj used her retirement funds, savings, promised her daughter’s gold jewelry at a local pawn shop, mortgaged her home and took out loans from individuals with interest, they added.

Devaraj became suspicious of Poopathy when she stopped receiving calls and attending personal meetings, officials said.

Unidentified people are alleged to have threatened Devaraj in February and took his signatures on a document that said all of his payments to Poopathy were returned to him, they said.

Devaraj filed a complaint with the Chennai Port Trust surveillance officer, along with transaction documents, mortgages, pawn receipts and audio recordings of conversations between Poopathy and her son Sathyaprakash, officials said.

The Chennai Port Trust subsequently suspended Poopathy, they added.

Devaraj also approached the CBI with her complaint, which has now been carried out by the agency for investigation after registering an FIR against poopathy under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

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