India’s top anti-corruption watchdog, the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has ordered a CBI probe into the allotment of two mega projects -- Film City and Amusement-cum-Theme Park -- approved by the Chandigarh Administration a few years ago.
The CBI has been directed to conduct detailed investigations into the allotments after a CVC inquiry pointed out at violations of rules in awarding the two projects to private parties.
"Prima facie, we have found violations of rules and regulations in awarding the projects. We have referred the cases to the CBI so that a detailed investigation could be conducted and the responsibility of officials be fixed," a senior CVC official told the Hindustan Times in New Delhi. A reference to the CBI in this regard was made a few days ago, he said.
The UT Administration, however, had been strongly denying the allegations.
In December 2008, the CVC launched an inquiry into the controversial projects after allegations were levelled against the UT Administration that some mega projects, including Film City and Amusement-cum-Theme Park were approved by the Administration disregarding the rules and procedures.
The CVC subsequently summoned all records pertaining to these projects in January and asked the Controller of Departmental Inquiry (CDI) to conduct inquiry into the allotments.
In March this year, the Commission summoned top officials of the UT Administration and the consultant company SBI Capital Markets Ltd (SBI Fincaps) in connection with the inquiry.
The Commission had asked the officials to explain how the land value was evaluated before allotting them to the private parties and the basis of the revenue models that were finalised by them.
The UT Administration had hired SBI Fincaps, a joint venture of the State Bank of India and the Treasury Bank, to advise them on the Filmcity and Amusement-cum-Theme park projects. The allegations also included change of land evaluation reports by the consultants for the same chunk of 30-acre earmarked for Film City.
The allotment of mega projects came into public domain late last year following a rift between the UT Advisor, Pradeep Mehra and the Punjab governor and UT Administrator, General S F Rodrigues (retd) over the allotment of land for some mega projects. After the allegations were reported by the local media, the UT Administration had issued detailed clarifications in the newspapers, ruling out the possibility of any wrongdoing in the allotment of the projects.
As per the procedures, the CBI could first conduct a premilinary enquiry (PE) into the allegations and subsequently decide whether a formal case has to be registered or not.