Thursday, August 25, 2011

Fwd: India Against Corruption

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Dr. Mandhata Singh <>
Date: Thu, Aug 25, 2011 at 10:47 PM
Subject: Fwd: India Against Corruption
To: Palash Biswas <>

Government denied permission to register case
against top NHAI officer

The Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH), under Kamal Nath,
has refused the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) sanction to initiate an inquiry
against a top official of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) in connection
with a corruption case registered six months ago in which two top NHAI officials were
CBI officials said the denial of sanction came early this month after it sent several
reminders to the Ministry and to the Cabinet Secretary underlining that it was Union
Minister Kamal Nath who was the "competent authority" to take a final decision in the
Sources have confirmed to The Indian Express that the CBI, after seeking legal
advice, has now written to Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrasekhar asking him to
transfer out S I Patel, an Additional Secretary-level officer who is now posted as
Member (Projects) in the NHAI.
The Cabinet Secretary is understood to have scheduled a review meeting with CBI
officials later this week.
The case in question is a controversial award of contract in the 120-km Nagpur-
Betul Highway (NH 69) to a Delhi-based private firm, Oriental Structural Engineers
Pvt Ltd (OSEPL). The contract value, over an 18-year period, is Rs 10,800 crore,
and the CBI has alleged several irregularities in the manner in which it was awarded.
It was in May this year that the CBI registered a case after it received complaints
from among the 12 other bidders and put telephones of NHAI and OSEPL under
surveillance. Cash totaling Rs 1.86 crore was recovered by the CBI from NHAI
officials during searches.
The CBI called it a case of criminal conspiracy and corruption in which while
awarding a contract, the NHAI had tried to "eliminate all possible contenders on one
pretext or another and favoured the accused company ensuring huge financial gain
to it."
Those arrested were a Chief General Manager and General Manager of the NHAI
and two top OSEPL bosses, including its managing director. An analysis of the
evidence including telephone transcripts of conversations between the two camps
and emails exchanged between NHAI and OSEPL officials led the CBI to seek
sanction to investigate Member (Projects) Patel too.
Significantly, Patel was able to stay out of the country he sought several extensions
of his leave all throughout the 60-day remand period of the arrested officials and
returned to NHAI only after they secured bail since the CBI failed to file a
The CBI version is that Patel's evidence is vital to link pieces of evidence in the case
and, therefore, its urgent reminders for immediate grant of sanction.
When contacted today, NHAI chairman Brajeshwar Singh told The Indian Express
that he wasn't aware of the final outcome of the CBI's request for sanction since it
was being handled by the Ministry.

Indian Express 18th Nov 2010



"The Ministry had asked us for comments and we gave them what was on our files. I
am not aware of the nature of evidence with the CBI since they are not expected to
share it with us," he said. "Yes, the CBI recovered huge sums of money from two
NHAI officials but again I am not aware if they were able to establish a nexus
between the officers and the contract."
Despite senior NHAI officials being arrested and OSEPL being made the "accused"
private beneficiary, the NHAI went ahead and signed the concessional agreement
the final contractual procedure with the same company. This was done in end
August, three months after the arrests and searches. When asked about this, NHAI
chief Singh said: "Technically, the contract was awarded before the CBI action.
Nobody, including the CBI, had asked us to cancel the concessional agreement. Its
signing was a mere formality."

Coal Ministry sits on CBI requests to prosecute
Coal India top officer

The Coal Ministry is sitting on at least three requests by the CBI during the past year
to initiate prosecution proceedings against S C Garg, the Chairman and Managing
Director of Western Coalfields Ltd, a subsidiary of state-owned monopoly Coal
India Ltd. Garg is one of the two contenders for the post of Coal India CMD.
The investigating agency first wrote to the ministry on March 18, 2010, seeking
permission to register a case of "grave misconduct" against Garg. As WCL CMD,
Garg was accused of showing undue favours to Shri Sai Constructions, which was
awarded a Rs 13.5 crore contract for building the Motaghat Nala. It allegedly forged
bank guarantee papers to execute the works, but Garg didn't take serious action to
penalise the firm.
"The CMD of WCL is a Joint Secretary-level officer. Hence approval under Section
6A of the DSPE Act is required for carrying out an inquiry into the said allegations,"
the CBI wrote in its letter to the ministry, a copy of which is with The Indian Express.
But the ministry did not respond.
According to CIL sources, while Garg constituted a committee on September 9,
2008, to ascertain if Shri Sai Constructions could be banned and penalties imposed
on it, he did little to implement its recommendations. The panel had recommended
banning the firm "with immediate effect" and also forfeiting the balance payment of
Rs 92,23,154 against the work executed. It had also suggested recovery of over Rs
16 lakh from it for forging bank guarantees.
Denying that he was responsible for the Motaghat Nala contract, Garg says the
charges were an attempt to malign him as he was set to become CIL CMD. "The CBI
has jumped midway without collecting fact or waiting for the outcome of the
deliberations of the Board, which is the competent authority for giving any decision
involving such expenditure (of about Rs 14 crore). I, as the MD can only decide on
cases involving expenditure of up to Rs 10 crore. The Motaghat Nala contract was
given before I became CMD of WCL, and I was apprised of it in July 2008. So how
am I responsible?"
He said they had realised that Shri Sai Constructions had provided a fake bank
guarantee (Rs 2.24 crore), following which they had filed an FIR, forfeited their
gurantee and also charged Rs 17,00,000 as interest. "I also solicited the advice of
the Additional Solicitor General. The matter is with the board and a case is on
against the company."

Indian Express 7th March 2011

After the ministry didn't get back on its March 2010 letter, then CBI Director Ashwini
Kumar wrote another letter to the Coal Ministry on June 10, seeking approval to
prosecute Garg for "criminal misconduct". " far, no action has been taken and
Garg continues to enjoy his posting", the CBI said in its second letter. However, the
ministry chose to ignore this too.
Six months later, on December 3, the CBI again reminded the ministry about its
request and said that one of its Joint Director-level officers "himself had come and
handed over the request for permission for registration of the case against Garg".
After Partha S Bhattarcharya retired as CIL CMD recently, Garg and T K Lahiry,
CMD of Bharat Coking Coal Ltd, also a subsidiary of CIL, were shortlisted by the
Public Enterprises Selection Board for the coveted job.
When contacted, Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal said: "We are looking into it. The
law will take its own course." He added that his ministry was waiting for the final
report of the Central Vigilance Commission on Garg's candidature for becoming CIL
Incidentally, the CVC too had written a letter to the ministry on November 11 last
year, endorsing the CBI's request for proceeding against Garg and asking the
ministry to expressly get back to the agency on whether it was allowing prosecution,
and if not, to convey the reasons for refusal.

CBI cannot act against Railway scam accused

Asian Age 21st July 2010
The Central Bureau of Investigation sleuths probing the Railway
Recruitment Board scam couldn't make much headway in the case of
Mumbai RRB chief Mr S. M. Sharma thanks to a provision in the Delhi
Special Police Establishment Act which makes government sanction
mandatory before registering an FIR against an officer of the rank of
joint-secretary or above under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Though the CBI allegedly found incriminating evidence against Mr
Sharma, they couldn't register an FIR against him due to Section 6A of
the DSPE Act as Mr Sharma is an officer of the joint-secretary rank.
On June 17, the CBI had written to the Centre seeking permission for
initiating investigation against Mr Sharma after the arrest of his son Mr
Vivek Bhardwaja. Sources in the Central Bureau of Investigation said
that the agency is still awaiting the Centre's nod and this delay in
obtaining permission is having a negative impact on the investigations
as in several cases the accused get enough time to manipulate various
aspects of the case.
A Central Bureau of Investigation official said, "Earlier, in several cases
the accused tried to seek a discharge from the case on technical
grounds by raising the issue that the mandatory provision of Section 6A
was not complied by the CBI."
Section 6A was inserted in 2003 with an intention of safeguarding public
servants against mala fide and unwarranted investigations.



---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: <>
Date: 25 August 2011 20:16
Subject: India Against Corruption


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Dr. Mandhata Singh
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Palash Biswas
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