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Delhi Metro scam: UK firm under scanner

business Updated: Sep 10, 2014 20:14 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar

Britain’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) on Tuesday placed charges in court against engineering major Alstom Network UK Ltd related to bribing officials and agents of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation to the tune of over 3 million euros to secure contracts.

The hearing in the case, which began in the Westminster Magistrates' Court, will have its next hearing in the Southwark Crown Court on 6 October.

Of the six charges filed against the company in court, two relate to the DMRC contract, and the rest to its activities in Poland and Tunisia.

The SFO charge is that certain directors of Alstom “did corruptly give or agree to give payments to an official or officials or other agents” of the DMRC to secure the contracts between 1 August 2000 and 9 August 2006.

The charge mentions two specific examples: “The sum of Rs 19,895,000 disguised as payments in respect of a Consultancy Agreement with Indo European Ventures Pte Ltd dated 12th September 2001 and, and the sum of €3,131,600 disguised as a payment in respect of a Consultancy Agreement with Global King Technology Ltd dated 3rd May 2002”.

These payments, according to SFO, were intended to be “inducements or rewards for showing favour to the Alstom Group in relation to the award or performance” of a DMRC contract for a Train Control, Signalling and Telecommunications System for the Delhi Metro Phase 1 (‘SYS 1’).

This constitues two offences under section 1 of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906, and under section 1 of the Criminal Law Act 1977.

Meanwhile, a senior urban development ministry official told HT, "We are not aware of the charges leveled by the Britain's Serious Fraud Office against Alstom for bribing Delhi Metro to win contracts. Nothing has been communicated to us so far. We will take a view once we get something in writing from either the home ministry or the CBI."

When contacted, the DMRC also refused to comment saying that they were not aware of the development.