New Delhi: The Delhi high court on Wednesday issued notice to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) over a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking investigation into alleged unauthorized and illegal payments by Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) to a private contractor under a tender.
The matter was brought before a bench headed by G. Rohini, Chief Justice of Delhi high court who sought a response from the investigation agency within four weeks.
The court was hearing a PIL brought by Telecom Watchdog, a society registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 claiming inaction on part of the CBI in conducting an investigation on a complaint by the petitioner against BSNL’s senior officers.
In its plea, Telecom Watchdog has alleged criminal conspiracy between officers of BSNL and ZTE Telecom India Pvt Ltd, a Chinese contractor, for releasing payments for uninstalled equipment in violation of the tender conditions.
In a complaint made to the CBI on 11 March, 2016, the petitioner disclosed how BSNL officials had connived with ZTE and forged the official records of BSNL by introducing a non-existent clause so that undue payments of about Rs1,000 crore could be released to ZTE. It further claims that BSNL officials in conspiracy with ZTE had fabricated official documents to effect the release of money resulting in loss to the exchequer.
Under a tender floated in October 2011, BSNL had invited tender for three zones (north, south and east zone) for 14.37 million GSM mobile telephone lines on a turnkey basis.
The scope of the tender included “Planning, engineering, supply, installation, testing, and commissioning and annual maintenance” of the equipment. It was stipulated that release of 50% payment would be made at the delivery stage and balance would be released in later stages of installation & commissioning.
ZTE had emerged as the successful bidder for all the three zones at a total cost of Rs4,204.85 crore.
The matter will be heard next on 26 April.