Biocon Briberygate: Aapki File Pe Progress Ho haya..Tapes Under CBI Court’s Lens

| Updated: 23 July, 2022 4:55 pm IST
Biocon Group headquarters in Bengaluru (file photo)

NEW DELHI: ‘Aapki file pe progress ho gaya hai’, the excerpt from conversations between CDSCO official Animesh Kumar and Gujji Sethi, a conduit in the Biocon bribery case, needs further explanation, a special CBI court has observed.

The court made the observation on July 19 while rejecting the bail applications of joint drugs controller S Eswara Reddy and four other accused in the Biocon bribery unearthed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Last month, the CBI caught Reddy red-handed while accepting a bribe of Rs 4 lakhs from Dinesh Dua, also an accused, for waiving off the phase-3 clinical trial of Bengaluru-based Biocon Biologics’ Insult Aspart injection for diabetes.

In an excerpt of the conversation between Kumar, an assistant drug inspector, and Sethi, who was allegedly tasked with getting the bribe delivered, the former allegedly said: “Aapki file pe progress ho gaya hai” (your file has been progressed). The excerpt was produced by the CBI before the court.

ALSO READ: Biocon Briberygate: CBI Court Rejects Bail Pleas; Allows Collection Of Voice Samples

In its order, the court had said that the online process to clear applications of pharma manufacturers was “sidelined”, which is termed “unexplained”.

“Three files relating to Biocon Biologics were assigned to Animesh Kumar is an admitted fact… He put them (files) into process. The conversation between him and Guljit Sethi alias Guljit Chaudhary is another fact which is admitted; in which “aapki file pe progress ho gaya” is disclosed to have been stated by Animesh Kumar during arguments and is sought to be explained as apprising the applicant of the status of the progress of her file….,” the court said.

It noted that the explanation offered by Kumar “fell short”. “As per his own claim, Animesh Kumar raised 13 objections on the proposal of Biocon Biologics on the portal “SUGAM” itself; in which background, the need to share his personal contact number with official of applicants (Biocon) and requirement of direct connect sidelining the online process is unexplained,” it said.

The CBI had registered a case after it intercepted calls and communication between the accused persons, sources in the agency said.

ALSO READ: Biocon Briberygate: Court Again Defers Bail Plea Of 5 Accused

Apart from Reddy, Kumar, Sethi and Dua, the CBI had also arrested L Praveen Kumar, Biocon Biologics’ associate vice president & head of its national regulatory affairs last month.

Sethi is the director of Bioinnovat Research Private Limited while Dua is the director of Synergy Network India Private Limited.

According to the CBI, the deal was fixed at about Rs 9 lakhs, out of which Dua was delivering Rs 4 lakhs to Reddy when they were caught.

During the arguments, the defence said that the amount was given to Reddy on behalf of Sethi as a “friendly gesture”. To which, the court said: “It is difficult in the given set of circumstances to look at the extension of this amount as a good friendly gesture simpliciter.”

ALSO READ: Biocon Briberygate: Company Used Middlewoman Guljit To Deliver Entire Bribe To Officials: CBI

Officials Reddy and Kumar argued that they have been mischievously framed in the case at the “instance of their rivals intending to prevent them from climbing the promotional ladder”. The court called the submission “another averment which was vague and unsupported”.

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