CBI arrests Power Grid executive director for alleged corruption in NE project

NEW DELHI:The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has arrested an executive director of Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd, Itanagar (Arunachal Pradesh) and officials of Tata Projects for alleged corruption in a power grid project in the northeast.

Those arrested are Bimlendu Shekhar Jha, Executive Director, Power Grid Corporation of India, Itanagar, Desh Raj Pathak, Executive Vice President and Head (Transmission and Distribution), Tata Projects Limited, RN Singh, Assistant Vice President and Business Head – Distribution, Tata Projects, Nafeej Hussain Khan, RPM, M/s. Tata Projects and two other employees of Tata Projects, Randheer Kumar Singh and Sandeep Kumar Dubey, officials said.

A CBI statement said that a case has been filed against the official, alleging that the official, in conspiracy with others, was allegedly involved in granting favors to the said private company, for various works, including preparation of inflated invoices, early payment of invoices, PVC (price variation clause). ), among others related to contracts of Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd, in lieu of the request and acceptance of illegal gratifications.

“It was further alleged that the said company had entertained bids for a comprehensive project for Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim, from Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd,” the statement said.

The arrests were made after searches at 11 premises of the accused officials located in Gurugram, Noida, Ghaziabad, which resulted in the recovery of numerous incriminating documents, materials, digital devices and other items. Cash of approximately 93 lakh were recovered from Jha’s residence, according to the investigating agency.

The arrested accused were produced before the court of Special Judge, CBI Cases, Panchkula (Haryana) today and have been remanded to police custody till July 15, 2022.

Officials said CBI received information that the Power Grid ED had allegedly accepted bribes from officials of Tata Projects and other companies for granting favors. Tata Projects has been awarded contracts under the North East Region Power System Improvement Project. The World Bank-funded project aims to increase the supply of electricity to the edges of the electricity distribution network in the participating Northeast region.

According to the World Bank website, the total project cost is $952.20 million, and agencies of the World Bank, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the Association International Development Agency (IDA) have jointly committed $470 billion. The Centre, the World Bank and the North Eastern states signed the $470 million loan agreement in 2016 and the project is expected to be operational until March 2023.

Responding to a query from Mint, a Tata Projects spokesperson said, “We adhere to strict standards in all our business dealings and have no tolerance for any compromise on this matter. We will provide our full support to the relevant authorities. »

Queries sent to the Power Grid, the union power ministry under which the PSU operates, remained unanswered till the time of publication.

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