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HindustanTimes Wed,22 Oct 2014

Eway operator faces probe for siphoning off  Rs. 676 cr

Moushumi Das Gupta , Hindustan Times  New Delhi, September 27, 2013
First Published: 01:32 IST(27/9/2013) | Last Updated: 01:37 IST(27/9/2013)

The ministry of road transport & highways has written to the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) to investigate charges of “financial misconduct” against the operator of the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway.

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The ministry says the Delhi-Gurgaon Super Connectivity Limited (DGSCL) siphoned Rs. 676 crore from an escrow account it jointly holds with NHAI to its parent company. The operator is already entangled in a legal battle with NHAI for contractual violations.

The ministry has asked the CVC to enquire into the matter and refer it to the CBI if necessary. It has also written to the Enforcement Directorate to investigate if the funds have been sent “abroad through unfair means.”
 
“Since there was evidence of criminal liability, we have referred the matter to CVC and ED for investigation,” road secretary Vijay Chibber said. Senior road ministry officials concede that the NHAI is also at fault for its failure to question the operator about details of the illegal transfer.

“We are not aware of any such development. The matter is currently sub judice,” said a DGSCL spokesperson.

The money in the escrow account is meant to be used by the operator for contractual obligations.

This includes contractual obligations like capacity augmentation, easing of traffic flow and facilitating rapid movement of traffic at the toll plaza. The expressway has been plagued by massive traffic snarls since inception.

In 2011, the NHAI issued a show cause notice to the operator for contractual violations. In 2012, it terminated the contract but the operator approached the Delhi High Court and obtained a stay.

The next hearing in this case is scheduled for October 3.

The expressway was the first public-private partnership (PPP) project in the highways sector. It was awarded in 2002 to a consortium of Jaypee Industries and DSC. It is now run solely by DSC, a company promoted by NRI businessman HS Narula.


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