CBI files graft case against Hyd-based firm, govt officials | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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CBI files graft case against Hyd-based firm, govt officials

ByNeeraj Chauhan, New Delhi
Apr 14, 2024 05:34 AM IST

CBI files case against NMDC, MECON officials and Megha Engineering for alleged corruption in ₹314 crore contract for steel plant in Chhattisgarh.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has filed a case against several officials of NMDC Limited and MECON Limited, two public-sector firms under the Union ministry of steel, and Hyderabad-based Megha Engineering and Infrastructure Ltd (MEIL) for alleged corruption in a 314 crore contract for an intake well, pump house and cross-country pipeline system for a steel plant in Chhattisgarh.

The CBI first information report (FIR) was filed on March 31 (PTI)
The CBI first information report (FIR) was filed on March 31 (PTI)

NMDC Limited is the country’s largest iron ore producer and exporter, functioning largely in Chhattisgarh and Karnataka. MECON Limited is India’s front line engineering, consultancy and contracting organisation, offering a range of services required for setting up of projects.

Megha Engineering was the second-highest donor to political parties through electoral bonds, as revealed by data published by the Election Commission of India and State Bank of India last month. The group purchased 966 crore worth bonds, out of which 584 crore went to the Bharatiya Janata Party, followed by 195 crore to the Bharat Rashtriya Samithi (BRS), 85 crore to the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), 37 crore to YSR Congress, 25 crore to the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and 17 crore to the Congress.

In February, the Supreme Court quashed the electoral bonds scheme and ordered SBI to disclose all data about donors and beneficiaries.

The CBI first information report (FIR), filed on March 31, alleged that NMDC and MECON officials received over 78 lakh against payments of over 174 crore made to the company in the contract.

Those named in the FIR include MEIL, its general manager Subhash Chandra Sangras and public servants Prasant Dash (former executive director of NMDC, now retired), Dilip Kumar Mohanty (director production at NMDC Iron and Steel Plant or NISP), Pradeep Kumar Bhuyan (deputy general manager NISP), Naresh Babu (deputy manager, survey NISP), Suvro Banerjee (senior manager NISP), L Krishna Mohan (chief general manager, finance, NMDC, now retired), K Rajshekhar (general manager, finance NMDC), Somnath Ghosh (manager finance, NMDC), Sanjeev Sahay (assistant general manager contracts, MECON), and K Illavars (deputy general manager contracts, MECON, now retired).

The FIR said CBI was investigating corruption in the contract since August last year as part of a preliminary enquiry (PE) — a precursor to the FIR.

On March 18, four days after the poll bond data was made public, CBI deputy superintendent at Chhattisgarh office wrote to his superior about acting in the matter and a case was finally registered on March 31, according to CBI.

The FIR, seen by HT, alleges that package 17-02 (works of intake well and pump house, DWTP (drinking water treatment plant) and cross-country pipeline including five-year operation and maintenance contract) of NMDC Iron and Steel Plant (NISP Ltd) was awarded to Megha Engineering, with another company in consortium — Koya and Company Ltd (KCCL), Hyderabad — for 3.0 MTPA integrated steel plant at Nagarnar, Jagdalpur on January 23, 2015, at a value of 314.57 crore.

Chandra of MEIL, it alleges, paid money to Dash for getting an official favour.

The effective date of contract was January 20, 2015, and project would be commissioned in 24 months, the PE revealed.

MECON was appointed by NMDC as consultant to carry out the project management and construction supervision (PMC) services.

The PE said that several payments, totalling 14.42 lakh, were made to officials of NMDC, NISP and MECON after which an accountant of MEIL created false vouchers to show these payments as labour payment.

Till December 2018, the FIR said, MEIL received over 174 crore from NMDC against 73 invoices raised by the company.

Subsequently, payments ranging from 76,000 (to Illavarsu) to 31 lakh (to Dash) were made by MEIL. In all, NMDC and NISP officials were paid 73.85 lakh while MECON officials were paid 5 lakh.

The federal agency booked all those named in the FIR under sections of criminal conspiracy and forgery of Indian Penal Code (IPC) and sections 7, 8 and 9 of Prevention of Corruption Act.

HT has reached out to MEIL on email seeking comments but there was no response.

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