New Delhi: The CBI on Friday carried out searches at the residence of suspended Prasar Bharti CEO B. S. Lalli after registering a case against him and others for alleged irregularities in the award of broadcasting rights of Commonwealth Games reportedly resulting in a loss of Rs135 crore to the exchequer.
The case was filed against Lalli, director of Zoom Communications Wasim Dehlvi and others under relevant provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act and Indian Penal Code late on Thursday night, official sources said.
Besides Lalli’s residence, the searches were being carried at the residence of Dehlvi and two more places, the sources said.
The CBI moves comes after information and broadcasting ministry cleared the deck for prosecution of Lalli facing allegations of corruption relating to broadcast rights given to SIS Live.
However, sanction for the prosecution of former Doordarshan director general Aruna Sharma for her role in the matter is yet to be given by the ministry which said it is examining the reply given by the Madhya Pradesh cadre IAS officer.
Soon after getting clearance from the Prime Minister’s Office to initiate action against both the officials on the basis of the recommendations of the V. K. Shunglu committee, the CBI had written to the ministry seeking its nod to go ahead with criminal proceedings against them.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, after receiving the report, had directed that explanations be sought from Lalli and Sharma.
Both Lalli and Sharma denied allegations of any wrongdoing. Sharma was ordered to be reverted back to the state cadre while Lalli was suspended.
Zoom Communication had earlier issued a statement and denied all the allegations leveled against the company by the Shunglu Committee.
The Prime Minister decided to refer the matter to CBI after considering the Shunglu committee report and the one given by cabinet secretary K. M. Chandrasekhar.
“Based on documents made available, the committee has concluded that the actual cost of the contract awarded to SIS Live was at best about Rs111 crore, thus resulting in a gain of at least Rs135 crore to the company,” the Shunglu report had alleged.
In its report, the committee had fixed the responsibility for providing “undue benefit” to SIS Live and Zoom Communications primarily on Lalli and Sharma, and said they cannot be recused from the acts of omission and commission.
The committee had also said that certain actions seem to attract penal provisions under IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act which need to be separately investigated.
The Prime Minister had also directed the ministry to review the claims made by SIS LIVE, jointly with Prasar Bharati and in consultation with their financial advisers, to ensure that there is no over-payment.