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CBI conducts raids on 14 locations in Kiru hydroelectric power project scam

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Raids follow registration of FIRs related to group medical insurance scheme for govt employees and work related to Kiru hydroelectric power project

New Delhi: The CBI has registered two FIRs in connection with corruption allegations levelled by former Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik in the awarding of contracts for group medical insurance scheme for government employees and work related to Kiru hydroelectric power project in the erstwhile state, officials said on Thursday.

The CBI after registering the FIRs carried out searches on Thursday morning at 14 locations in Jammu, Srinagar, Delhi, Mumbai, Noida in Uttar Pradesh, Trivandrum in Kerala and Darbhanga in Bihar, they said.

The central agency has named Reliance General Insurance and Trinity Re-Insurance Brokers Limited as accused in its FIR related to a controversial health insurance scheme for Jammu and Kashmir government employees reportedly cleared by Malik in the State Administrative Council meeting on August 31, 2018.

“…unknown officials of Finance Department of Government of Jammu and Kashmir by abusing their official position in conspiracy and connivance with Trinity Reinsurance Brokers Ltd, Reliance General Insurance Company Ltd and other unknown public servants and private persons have committed the offences of criminal conspiracy and criminal misconduct to cause pecuniary advantage to themselves and caused wrongful loss to state exchequer during the period 2017 and 2018 and thereby in this manner cheated the Government of Jammu and Kashmir,” the FIR alleged.

It was alleged in different quarters that there were glaring deviations from the government norms in the contract awarded to Reliance General Insurance like absence of an online tender, removal of an original condition that the vendor should have experience of working in the state and companies having turnover of Rs 5,000 crore among others.

After allegations of irregularities surfaced, the scheme, which was rolled out on September 30, 2018, was scrapped, they said.

“The governor has approved foreclosure of the contract with M/s Reliance General Insurance Company (RGIC) for implementing group mediclaim health insurance policy for the employees and pensioners in the state,” a Raj Bhavan spokesperson had said on October 27, 2018.

He had said the matter was referred to the Anti-Corruption Bureau for examining the entire process to see whether it was conducted in a transparent and fair manner.

In the scheme which was initially signed up with RGIC for one year, the employees and pensioners would have got Rs 6 lakh cover for themselves and five dependent family members by paying an annual premium of Rs 8,777 and Rs 22,229 for employees and pensioners, respectively.

In its FIR pertaining to the alleged malpractices in the award of contract for civil works package of Kiru Hydroelectric power project, the CBI said guidelines related to e-tendering were not followed.

The agency has booked Navin Kumar Chaudhary, former chairman of Chenab Valley Power Projects (P) Ltd, M S Babu, former MD, M K Mittal and Arun Kumar Mishra, former directors and Patel Engineering Ltd.

“Though a decision was taken in 47th Board meeting of CVPPPL (Chenab Valley Power Projects (P) Ltd) for re-tender through e-tendering with reverse auction after cancellation of ongoing tendering process, same was not implemented (as per decision taken in 48th board meeting) and tender was finally awarded to Patel Engineering Ltd,” the FIR alleged.

Malik, who was the Governor of Jammu and Kashmir between August 23, 2018 and October 30, 2019 had claimed that he was offered a Rs 300 crore bribe for clearing two files.

After going to Kashmir, two files came to me (for clearance), one belonging to Ambani and another to an RSS-affiliated man who was a minister in the previous Mehbooba Mufti-led PDP-BJP coalition government and claimed to be very close to the prime minister (Narendra Modi), he had said.

“I was informed by secretaries in both the departments that there is a scandal and I accordingly cancelled both the deals. The secretaries told me that ‘you will get Rs 150 crore each for clearing the files’ but I told them that I have come with five kurta-pyjamas and will leave with that only,” Malik had told a gathering at an event in Jhunjhunu in Rajasthan in October last year.

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