India Minister Denies Wrongdoing After Arrest Reports, PTI Says

Indian Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal denied wrongdoing after the Central Bureau of Investigation arrested six people for corruption, including rail officials and a relative of the minister, the Press Trust of India reported.

Bansal has no business relationship with the relative, the New Delhi-based agency said, citing a statement from Bansal.

Anil Kumar Saxena, a New Delhi-based spokesman for India’s Railway Ministry, didn’t return six calls made to his mobile phone. Dharini Mishra, a spokeswoman for the CBI, didn’t return three calls made to her mobile phone. A man who picked up the phone at Bansal’s residence and declined to identify himself referred Bloomberg News to Saxena.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government has been assailed by graft charges since the nation’s auditor in 2010 reported that an “arbitrary” sale of mobile-phone licenses may have cost the government $31 billion in revenue. Opposition protests over alleged corruption have paralyzed parliament for more than two years, delaying plans to lift some caps on foreign investment and overhaul rules on the acquisition of land for industry.

The Supreme Court criticized federal investigators on April 30 for allowing the government to vet the findings of a probe into alleged graft in the award of coal blocks, saying political interference had shaken “the very foundation of the investigating process.”

The main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party demanded Bansal’s resignation, PTI reported today. Rashid Alvi, a Congress party spokesman, said the CBI was investigating the matter, and that whoever was responsible for wrongdoing will be punished, according to the PTI report.

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