The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered a case against two postal department officials in Uttar Pradesh's Pratapgarh district for demanding a bribe of Rs 100 from a commission agent.

The FIR, a copy of which has been reviewed by HT, was registered on November 30 on a complaint filed by Prabhat Kumar Singh, a resident of Kunda town in Pratapgarh. Singh said his wife Shubha worked as a commission agent for the Kunda post office. He said he would often accompany Shubha to the post office to deposit money collected from individuals investing in post office savings schemes.

Singh said that two officials at the post office, Santosh Kumar Saroj (Supervisor) and Suraj Mishra (postal assistant), told them that they will have to pay Rs 100 for every Rs 20,000 deposited. The FIR says that when Singh went to deposit Rs 60,000 on his wife's behalf on November 27, the duo allegedly charged Rs 300 bribe.

They had also allegedly threatened to stop Shubha's work if they were not paid, said the FIR. On verification, CBI found the allegations to be true. A retired CBI officer said, "Although the amount involved doesn't make a difference in a prevention of corruption act case, a premier agency like CBI, which is already short-staffed and has hundreds of probes involving thousands of crores, investigating a Rs100 bribery case puts further stress on its resources."

According to Central Vigilance Commission's 2018 report, CBI is short of 1,312 officers. CBI refused to comment officially but an officer requesting anonymity said, "No case is big or small for us, we treat all cases equally."

A CBI spokesperson said, "CBI intervened in a public complaint where poor villagers had to bribe to get their own money deposited (in the post office). There was a need to assist the poor rural people. This modus operandi impacted several villages."