CBI files two corruption cases after ex-governor Satya Pal Malik’s bribery allegations
Former Jammu & Kashmir Governor (now Meghalaya Governor) Satya Pal Malik’s allegations of trying to bribe him for Rs.300 crore during the Mehbooba Muft Government regime turns true. Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered two FIRs in connection with corruption allegations leveled by Satya Pal Malik in the awarding of contracts for a group medical insurance scheme run by Anil Ambani headed Reliance General Insurance for Government employees and civil work worth Rs.2,200 crore related to Kiru hydroelectric power project in the erstwhile state.
The CBI, after registering the FIRs, carried out searches on Thursday morning at 14 locations in Jammu, Srinagar, Delhi, Mumbai, Noida in Uttar Pradesh, Trivandrum in Kerala, and Darbhanga in Bihar. The agency named Reliance General Insurance and Trinity Re-Insurance Brokers Limited as accused in its FIR related to a controversial health insurance scheme for Jammu and Kashmir Government employees reportedly cleared by Malik in the state administrative council meeting on August 31, 2018.
“…Unknown officials of Finance Department of Government of Jammu and Kashmir by abusing their official position in conspiracy and connivance with Trinity Reinsurance Brokers Ltd, Reliance General Insurance Company Ltd, and other unknown public servants and private persons have committed the offences of criminal conspiracy and criminal misconduct to cause pecuniary advantage to themselves and caused wrongful loss to the state exchequer during the period 2017 and 2018 and thereby in this manner cheated the Government of Jammu and Kashmir,” the FIR alleged.
It was alleged in different quarters that there were glaring deviations from the government norms in the contract awarded to Reliance General Insurance like the absence of an online tender, removal of an original condition that the vendor should have experience of working in the state and companies having turnover of Rs.5,000 crore among others. “The case was registered on the request of Jammu and Kashmir government on the allegations of malpractices in the award of contract of J&K Employees Health Care Insurance Scheme to private company and release of Rs.60 crore (approximately) in the year 2017-18,” CBI Spokesperson R C Joshi said. After allegations of irregularities surfaced, the scheme, which was rolled out on September 30, 2018, was scrapped, officials said.
“The Governor has approved foreclosure of the contract with M/s Reliance General Insurance Company (RGIC) for implementing group mediclaim health insurance policy for the employees and pensioners in the state,” a Raj Bhavan spokesperson had said on October 27, 2018. He had said the matter was referred to the Anti-Corruption Bureau for examining the entire process to see whether it was conducted in a transparent and fair manner.
In the second FIR pertaining to the alleged malpractices in the award of contract for the civil works package of the Kiru hydroelectric power project, the CBI said guidelines related to e-tendering were not followed. “The case was registered on allegations of malpractices in the award of the contract worth Rs.2,200 crore (approximately) of civil works of Kiru Hydro Electric Power Project (HEP) to a private company in the year 2019,” Joshi said. The agency has booked Navin Kumar Chaudhary, former chairman of Chenab Valley Power Projects (P) Ltd, M S Babu, former MD, M K Mittal, and Arun Kumar Mishra, former directors and Patel Engineering Ltd.
“Though a decision was taken in 47th Board meeting of CVPPPL (Chenab Valley Power Projects (P) Ltd) for re-tender through e-tendering with the reverse auction after the cancellation of the ongoing tendering process, same was not implemented (as per the decision taken in 48th board meeting) and tender was finally awarded to Patel Engineering Ltd,” the FIR alleged.
Satya Pal Malik, who was the Governor of Jammu and Kashmir between August 23, 2018, and October 30, 2019, had alleged that he was offered an Rs.300 crore bribe for clearing two files. After going to Kashmir, two files came to me (for clearance), one belonging to Ambani and another to an RSS-affiliated man who was a minister in the previous Mehbooba Mufti-led PDP-BJP coalition government and claimed to be very close to the Prime Minister (Narendra Modi), he had said.
“I was informed by secretaries in both the departments that there is a scandal and I accordingly canceled both the deals. The secretaries told me that ‘you will get Rs.150 crore each for clearing the files’ but I told them that I have come with five kurta-pajamas and will leave with that only,” Malik had told a gathering at an event in Jhunjhunu in Rajasthan in October last year.
Mehbooba Mufti claimed that she will file a defamation case against Satya Pal Malik. But not yet filed. Interestingly, though Malik was not named, BJP leader and former RSS Spokesperson Ram Madhav foolishly told the media that Malik is trying to defame him by saying the role of an RSS leader and would consult a legal team to file defamation. He also not filed any case and in those days Ram Madhav was the points-person of the BJP in J&K during Mehbooba’s regime.
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