A year after top intelligence agencies complained to the Prime Minister’s Office that some officers of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd were hand-in-glove with Chinese firm Huawei and helped it win a multi-crore telecom contract in 2006, the CBI has said there was no evidence to prove the corruption charges.
“All the records were found to be in order and there was no evidence that the officers dealing with the contract of a 63-million mobile network in 2006 favoured the Chinese firm,” a CBI source said. A status report was recently submitted to the higher-ups, the source added.
In 2009, when the state-owned BSNL was in the process of awarding a part of 93-million mobile lines (each line is equivalent to one mobile connection) contract to Huawei, the Intelligence Bureau submitted a complaint to the PMO along with “credible leads” against the officers, which was also based on phone intercepts.
Expressing fear that the “unholy nexus” with the Chinese firm could pose a security threat, the agencies whipped up concern within the government, forcing the PMO to forward the complaint to the Central Vigilance Commission, a watchdog for corruption in the bureaucracy.
In September last, the CVC ordered a CBI probe and recommended shifting some of the officers.
The BSNL had to scrap the tender on the recommendations of a committee led by Sam Pitroda, adviser to the Prime Minister on Public Information, Infrastructure and Innovation.
The CBI, which had already begun the probe into the charges of corruption against the officers, however, found that Huawei was thrown out of the tender process in 2006 at the technical level itself.
“We only probed the corruption angle and not the security angle,” the source added.