CBI to call Malik for questioning in Jammu; CAs, others from Delhi, Rajasthan quizzed

‘Ex-Guv called files but didn’t give them for investigations’

*Decision on Kiru project taken in Board meeting overruled

Sanjeev Pargal

JAMMU, May 28: The Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) is all set to shortly call former Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik for questioning here as it has surfaced during investigations in Rs 2240 crore Kiru hydro electric project allotment that he called two files of Kiru and Pakal Dul projects when he was the Governor but didn’t handover Kiru file to any of the investigation agencies.
The CBI is presently engaged in questioning of Chartered Accountants and others whose houses and offices were raided by it on May 18 in New Delhi and Rajasthan and after all of them are quizzed and their statements recorded, Malik will be called for replying to their queries, sources told the Excelsior.
While some of the officers including those on Board of Directors and businessmen have already been questioned, they will be quizzed for second time after the former Governor replies to the queries.
It may be mentioned here that both the cases of Kiru hydro electric project and Government employees insurance involving Reliance Company, which were pointed out by Malik, are being investigated by the CBI wing of Jammu.
Preliminary investigations by the CBI revealed that in the Board meeting held in June 2019, excepting Hridesh Kumar, then Commissioner/Secretary Power Development Department (PDD) all others were in favour of awarding work on Rs 2240 crore worth Kiru hydro electric project in Kishtwar district of Jammu region to M/s Patel Engineering Mumbai which had emerged as Li bidder.
However, the CBI investigations revealed, Hridesh Kumar pointed out that then Jammu and Kashmir administration had issued an order for awarding works through e-tendering with reverse action. He is reported to have stressed that this process should also be implemented for allotment of tender of Kiru hydro-electric project for which the tenders had earlier been called manually.
Records being investigated by the CBI revealed that after detailed discussions, it was agreed that the tender will be issued as per the new process and this was recorded in the Minutes of Meeting of the Board as well.
Later, one of the Directors initiated separate note after visiting New Delhi and it was decided to allot Kiru tender to M/s Patel Engineering as per the initiated practice while adopting new formula of e-tendering with reverse action in future.
“Though a decision was taken in 47th Board meeting of CVPPPL 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 sources said.
This was, as per the officials, the Minutes of Meeting of previous sitting were superseded.
Later, Satya Pal Malik called two files of Kiru and Pakal Dul hydro-electric projects as it surfaced that tender has been allotted without adopting new process of tendering initiated by the Jammu and Kashmir administration to favour a firm.
However, as per the officials, Malik had to hand over the files to any of the investigating agencies like CBI, Vigilance Organization etc but he didn’t do that.
The agency has booked Navin Kumar Chaudhary, senior IAS and officer former Chairman of Chenab Valley Power Projects (P) Ltd, who was later shifted from Jammu and Kashmir, M S Babu, former MD, M K Mittal and Arun Kumar Mishra, former Directors and Patel Engineering Ltd in the case.
It was in January 2022 that Kiru and Reliance Insurance files were handed over to the CBI for investigations which has lodged two separate First Information Reports (FIRs) in both the cases.
The CBI questioned Malik for five hours on April 28 in New Delhi to seek information on his bribery charges.
The CBI registered two FIRs in connection with the corruption allegations levelled by Malik in the awarding of contracts for a group medical insurance scheme for Government employees, and civil works worth Rs 2,200 crore related to the Kiru hydroelectric power project in Jammu and Kashmir.
Malik had claimed he was offered a Rs 300-crore bribe for clearing two files during his tenure as the Jammu and Kashmir Governor between August 23, 2018 and October 30, 2019.
In its FIR pertaining to the alleged malpractices in the award of contract for the civil works package of Kiru hydroelectric power project, the CBI had stated that guidelines related to e-tendering were not followed.
The case was registered on allegations of malpractices in the award of the contract of civil works of Kiru Hydro Electric Power Project (HEP) to a private company in 2019.
“Though a decision was taken in the 47th Board meeting of CVPPPL (Chenab Valley Power Projects Pvt Ltd) for re-tender through e-tendering with the reverse auction after the cancellation of the ongoing tendering process, the same was not implemented (as per the decision taken in the 48th board meeting) and tender was finally awarded to Patel Engineering Ltd,” the FIR lleged.