Alleged BSNL-ZTE Scam: Delhi High Court Orders BSNL to Take Ministerial Action
The Delhi High Court has ordered Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) to take ministerial action, as suggested by the CBI, against its agents for allegedly making inappropriate bids and lacking planning before issuing purchase orders GSM mobile phone lines.
The high court clarified that it had expressed no opinion on the merits of the allegations against BSNL executives and that any action initiated by the telecommunications company must be taken to its logical conclusion on its own merits. .
The court order came as it disposed of a plea in which it was alleged that BSNL officials caused a loss of around Rs. 1,000 crore to the Treasury by releasing an unauthorized payment to the subsidiary. of a Chinese company by manufacturing documents.
“The Preliminary Inquiry (PE) was filed by the CBI at the request of this court and the CBI, after concluding the investigation, filed situation reports in this court. After reading the situation reports, this court finds no reason to reject the status reports filed by the CBI and forward any further instructions.
“This tribunal, however, orders the BSNL to take departmental action, as suggested by the CBI, against its officers. officers of BSNL. Any action initiated by BSNL must be taken to its logical conclusion on its own merits,” a bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad said in an order passed Thursday.
He said that as ordered by the Supreme Court in the Latika Kumari case, the CBI is required to provide a copy of the entry of the closure to the petitioner disclosing the reasons, in brief, for the closure of the complaint and not to go any further.
It granted freedom to the applicant, the NGO Telecom Watchdog, to resort to legal remedies in accordance with the law.
The petition filed by the NGO, represented by lawyer Prashant Bhushan, alleged that BSNL officials colluded with M/s ZTE Telecom India Pvt Ltd, a Chinese contractor, and falsified official records of BSNL in order to than “undue payments” of about Rs. 1,000 crores could be given to the company.
The CBI, in its latest status report filed in court in January, said that although money was received by M/s Trimax IT and Infrastructure Ltd from ZTE, no link was established that the money received by them was used to bribe officials. of BSNL.
The status report, however, suggested that a ministerial investigation should be initiated against a senior BSNL executive for making a payment stage change without deliberating on site acquisition efforts that resulted in financial loss and technical degradation by making additional work work. contract with ZTE at the rate of 2011.
He further suggested that ministerial action, if deemed necessary, be taken against BSNL agents for making inappropriate bids and failing to plan ahead of issuing purchase orders.
The petition claimed that in 2011, BSNL issued a tender for the North, South and East Zones for 14.37 million GSM mobile phone lines on a turnkey basis and following a competitive process. ‘transparent bidding, ZTE emerged as the successful bidder for the three areas at a cost. of Rs. 4,204.85 crore.
The plea alleged that in its offer, BSNL had prescribed eight stages for the release of payments, whereby only 50% of the payment was payable until delivery and the balance to be released in stages upon installation and commissioning. service.
“During the implementation of the project, for unknown reasons, BSNL continued to issue purchase orders without caring about the demand on the ground. As a result, a huge amount of ordered material began to accumulate in the stores of M/s ZTE for which BSNL had already paid 50% of the cost of the equipment, including customs duties, in accordance with the terms of the tender,” he alleged.
The plea had alleged that certain BSNL and ZTE officials had entered into a conspiracy to release the undue payment of 95.10% “illegitimately for all such uninstalled equipment”.
He had alleged that official documents had been fabricated to release the 95.10% payment “illegitimately” to ZTE.
“It is evident that the Respondent (CBI) is not following up on the complaint filed by the Applicant for unknown reasons, even in such a serious case where hundreds of crores of rupees were illegitimately released under a criminal conspiracy between BSNL officials and a Chinese contractor by falsifying documents in a contract worth Rs. 4,204.85 crore,” the petitioner had alleged.
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