The CBI’s director has been asked to supervise further probe in a case of payment of alleged kickbacks by a Russian firm for a Rs 2,066-crore NTPC contract by a court which pulled up the agency for not investigating it properly.
“It appears that CBI officials are not inclined to further investigate the matter to ascertain the criminal negligence or abuse and misuse of official positions by senior NTPC officials as well as the members of the Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure, Government of India, as these senior officers and the politicians appear to have high connections and appear to have a big say in the functioning of Government of India,” Special CBI Judge Brijesh Garg said.
Refusing to accept the charge sheet filed by CBI, the court said the agency has tried to “save” senior officers of NTPC and members of the Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure.
Ordering the CBI Director to supervise further probe, the court asked him to assign the investigation to an officer not below the rank of a Joint Director.
The court had in April last year returned CBI’s charge sheet filed in the case while directing the agency to further probe it on the aspect of fixing of responsibility of NTPC officials who had “deliberately” not pointed out the deficiencies in the tender documents of Russian firm Technopromexport (TPE).
The court, however, was annoyed that no further probe has been done by CBI for the last over one-and-a half years to comply with its earlier order.
According to CBI, from 2002 to 2005 some NTPC officials had obtained illegal gratification in award of super thermal power contract at Barh in Bihar.
The FIR in the case was registered on information from Interpol, London, which alleged that 15 million pounds were lying in a UK bank account and appeared to be meant for kickbacks.
CBI had alleged that NTPC had entered into three contracts with TPE Russia and transferred USD 53,633,554 to it as advance money.
It had said that TPE later transferred USD 10,37,36,221 and USD 10,37,2,441.07 to Delhi-based Ravina Associates Pvt Ltd at Natwest Bank on May 5 and May 18, 2005, respectively.
CBI alleged that more than USD 20.07 million was paid by TPE Russia to Ravina Associates Pvt Ltd as commission equalling a percentage of the contract.
CBI, in its fresh charge sheet filed in August this year, had named as accused M/s FGUP VO Technopromexport, its two officials, Ravina and Associates Pvt Ltd and its director.