Bar hotel owners bribe tourism officials for star status; CBI recovers Rs 5 lakh from raids

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Representational Image| Graphics: Mathrubhumi

Kochi: In a shocking revelation, CBI has reported that bar hotel owners seeking star status have paid crores of rupees as bribe to central tourism officials. Following this, CBI raided hotels and houses of the agents involved in the bribery.

The bar hotel owners have paid a bribe to India Tourism Chennai Regional Director Sanjay Watts and assistant director Ramakrishna.

CBI officials have carried out the raid as per the details recovered from the mobile phone of Sanjay Watts. The officials blocked his car which was heading towards Kochi airport and examined his mobile phone to collect evidence.

According to reports, CBI has already put the officials and agents under scanner over the allegations.

Chennai-based regional office of India Tourism has been engaged in granting star status to bars and hotels in states including Kerala. Sanjay Watts and Ramkrishna were assigned to inspect the hotels as part of granting star status.

CBI officials blocked Sanjay Watts when he was on the way to Kochi airport for moving to Chennai.

CBI has recovered evidence of the bribery including his contact with the agents and bribery deal from his iPhone.

Based on the evidence, CBI raided various places and recovered Rs 55 lakh.

It is identified that the money paid as bribe to the officials was transferred to the bank account of the officials’ wives.

CBI has identified that both officials possess illegal assets. It is reported that CBI has raided their houses in Tamil Nadu the other day. CBI has booked the duo over bribery charges and initiated a probe.

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