In its probe in railways freight scam, CBI has recovered images of 65 hard disks from the Electronic In-Motion Weigh Bridge (EIMWBs) locations, which were allegedly manipulated to under-weigh the freight canons, thereby benefitting private companies.
These images have been sent for forensic examination to ascertain whether manipulation was done in the software by vendors, freight carriers and railway officials.
CBI sources said the agency is examining several documents recovered during searches and from railway officers in different states.
The six vendors involved in the weighing process are – ESSACE Digitronics Pvt Ltd, Digital Weighing Systems Pvt Ltd, Rice Lake Weighing Systems India Ltd, ScheckProcess India Ltd, R R Engineers and Consultation, Sanmar Weiging Systems Ltd and Sean Logistics.
According to some estimates based on the probe so far, the scam could be running into more than Rs 4200 crore. The weight of railway freight was shown less despite overloading which benefitted the private companies and vendors.
CBI has alleged that preliminary investigations have revealed manipulations in the software of static and in-motion weigh bridges that are used by railways for weighment purposes. Electronic In-Motion Weigh Bridge (EIMWBs) have been developed by Indian Railways in consultation with Research Development and Standards Organization (RDSO). Around 200 such bridges have been installed at different locations throughout India to weigh freight in transit. Goods trains passing at the speed of 15 km per hour get automatically weighed by this system.
Sources said the system at several places was manipulated in such a manner that over loading of the wagon is concealed and weight is shown within the permissible limit. CBI suspects that highly sophisticated methods have been used to manipulate the software.
“The manipulation has been done through collusion among railway officials, private vendors and freight operators and is not only causing huge financial loss to the exchequer but also corresponding gain to private freight operators/private persons. It is damaging railway tracks, wagons and is affecting railway safety,” said a CBI officer.
CBI had conducted surprise checks in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, UP, Punjab, Jharkhand, Assam, West Bengal, Odisha, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, MP, Maharashtra, Goa, Rajasthan and Gujarat.