India’s largest power company, NTPC Ltd said it is ready to initiate strict action against any of its employees, if found guilty by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in its evidence of alleged kickbacks by the Russian company, Technopromoexport (TPE) for securing the Rs 2,066 crore contract for the thermal power project at Barh in Bihar.
“NTPC is ready to initiate action if CBI gives us the names,” a senior NTPC official, seeking anonymity, said. “Being a public sector company, we have always believed in ensuring the highest level of transparency.”
This comes a day after Hindustan Times reported the CBI findings on the Rs 100 crore “illegal commission” paid by the Russian company.
NTPC said the Russian firm had started making unreasonable claims over time extension and extra compensation by asking NTPC to remove the clause on price ceiling of 20 per cent.
“This led to substantial delays in execution of the project,” he said. “In February 2009, TPE asked us for a 87 per cent increase in the contract price, which was completely unacceptable.”
But for political and diplomatic intervention, NTPC would have cancelled the contract with TPE way back in 2007, he said.
TPE raised these issues at various Indo-Russia bilateral forums since 2006 (see box).
The issue also came up at the December 2008 meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Russian President Vladimir Putin and at a meeting taken by the National Security Advisor, when the ministries of power and external affairs were asked to provide details of the “unresolved issues.”