Lodging the 14th FIR in its Commonwealth Games corruption probe, the CBI on Tuesday booked eight Central Public Works Department (CPWD) officials and two private firms for allegedly inflating the cost of a contract to upgrade and renovate a sporting venue.
The cost of giving a facelift to Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Swimming Pool Complex was inflated from the original estimate of Rs 145 crore to Rs 229 crore, said a source in the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The rise of more than 57% in cost resulted in a loss to the exchequer, the source added.
The CBI is also probing alleged irregularities pertaining to “compromise on the quality of the work done on the project”, the source said.
As a part of the alleged criminal conspiracy among the CPWD officials and the two accused private firms, which includes an Indo-German joint venture, “arbitrary, inadmissible factors were considered to artificially raise the reasonable price to justify the award of the renovation work to the said firms”, said the CBI source.
The source added, “The accused officials resorted to arbitrarily inflating the rates of various items to award the exorbitantly–priced contract to the accused firms — the Indo-German joint venture firm of Consulting Engineering Service-Schlaich Bergernann and Ahluwalia Contracts (India) Limited.”
According to the source, “The inflation of cost included items such as labour transport though the workforce was on the project’s site, and exaggerated price and amount of the used building material.”
CBI spokesperson Dharini Mishra said the agency conducted searches at 16 places in New Delhi, Ghaziabad and Jaipur in connection with this case and found incriminating documents and records.
The accused persons and the firms have been charged under sections related to the Prevention of Corruption Act and criminal conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code.
The CPWD officials mentioned in the First Information Report (FIR) include the then project manager (CWG) SS Mondal (now retired), superintending engineer Rajendra Kalla, executive engineer Manu Mittal and two assistant engineers.