New Delhi: Federal investigators on Tuesday raided the offices of the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) and the homes of some of its officials, recovering around Rs1.5 crore.
The raids followed cases of corruption and abuse of authority registered three days earlier against two senior NHAI officials over the award of a project, said their colleagues and officers of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
NHAI is the nodal agency that administers the 35,000km National Highway Development Programme. It has awarded a total of 118 projects worth an estimated Rs60,585 crore.
The CBI raids began in New Delhi at around 9.30am and continued until late evening. Raids were also carried out in Jaipur.
The two senior NHAI officials were charged on 22 May with “wrongly awarding” a contract to develop a highway stretch between Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, a senior CBI officer said.
Work on the 176km stretch, estimated to cost in excess of Rs2,500 crore, was awarded as an annuity contract earlier this month, said an NHAI official.
NHAI had received more than a dozen bids for the project. “Four (bids) were rejected on frivolous grounds at the qualification stage. The NHAI officials then eliminated another four at the bidding stage. They asked them to submit original documents, which was against the conditions of the tender,“ the CBI officer said.
K.S. Bakshi, managing director of Oriental Structural Engineers Pvt. Ltd, which won the contract, did not respond to questions sent to the company’s corporate email address.
V.C. Verma, a director of the firm, also could not be reached.
Sleuths recovered Rs1 crore from the house of one NHAI official and Rs46 lakh from the house of the second. They also found details of several properties owned by the two, the CBI officer said.