The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which is probing into the alleged irregularities in the award of overlays contracts worth Rs630 crore for the Commonwealth Games, has found that four joint-venture firms had allegedly agreed to pay 2.5% of the projects’ cost as bribe to a few Organising Committee (OC) officials.
Confirming this, a CBI source said, “The CBI has also gathered evidence that one of the four firms mentioned in the case’s first information report (FIR) had, through its Indian representative, allegedly paid R40 lakh as bribe to OC officials as part of the criminal conspiracy.”
An OC official, who was among others in his organisation who allegedly accepted bribe from the four firms, has turned a witness in the case and revealed these facts to the CBI, said the source.
The alleged agreement to pay bribe worth R15 crore (2.5% of overlays projects’ total cost of R630 crore), was to be paid to the OC officials allegedly as part of a criminal conspiracy among them and “four firms mentioned in the FIR to award the overlays contracts at exorbitant rates, to cause undue favours to the firms and release payments smoothly to the firms,” said the CBI source.
The witness has given his statement to the CBI detailing the bribery network; Hindustan Times is withholding the identity of the witness to not hamper the ongoing probe.
The witness, according to his statement given to the CBI, had allegedly accepted a “bribe of Rs30 lakh from an Indian representative of one of the four firms mentioned in the CBI’s FIR to facilitate the release of payments due to the latter from the OC,” said the source.
The alleged ‘bribe giver’ was arrested by the CBI in the case in February. He was the then director of a joint-venture firm mentioned in the FIR.
“We have evidence that the ‘bribe giver’ arrested by us, apart from bribing the witness with R30 lakh, had also paid another R10 lakh to other OC officials,” said the source. The CBI is still attempting to gather evidence on the entire bribery transactions.
“There are several witnesses and documents, spread over various locations, that need to be examined by the CBI,” according to the source.
The witness’s testimony might serve as a shot in the arm in the CBI probe. “We have established the money trail in the overlays scam. The witness statement will also help us net the other accused OC officials,” said the CBI source. Arrested by the CBI, the witness and the MD are currently in judicial custody.
The CBI on Friday searched former OC chairman Suresh Kalmadi’s alleged locker at a bank located near Parliament Street. The locker, found to be empty, was last operated on October 18, 2010, according to a CBI source.
HTC, New Delhi