The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered a case against three senior technical officials of the Pune based Central Institute of Road Transport (CIRT) and two officials of bus manufacturer Ashok Leyland for allegedly faking test results of an insulation material (plywood samples).
The material, meant to be used in CNG buses ordered by the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC), had failed fire safety test.
“The plywood samples were to be used as specialised insulation material to give up to 30 minutes to bus commuters to escape in case of a fire,” said a CBI official, requesting anonymity.
He added, "The plywood samples, procured by the bus manufacturer and sent to the CIRT for testing by the DTC, had failed fire safety test that showed it could insulate passengers from fire only for between nine and 21 minutes.”
“CIRT officials later informed Ashok Leyland about the failure of test of plywood but did not inform the DTC," said the official. The CBI’s FIR, which was lodged in Pune, said the CIRT officials, after the conclusion of the fire safety test, had connived with the Ashok Leyland officials to switch the “failed plywood samples” with “fresh plywood samples” of best quality provided to them by the latter.
The FIR for criminal conspiracy and cheating was filed against CIRT's M H Bavardekar (head of its Technical Directorate, V D Chavan (scientist, Auto Lab-I), and D N Nande (head, Engineering Division-I). CBI's spokesperson Harsh Bhal said the FIR also mentioned A. Medhekar and V P Gautam of Ashok Leyland as co accused.”
A statement issued by Ashok Leyland stated: “The company would like to state categorically that all buses supplied by the company and plying with DTC fully conform to all quality requirements and are covered by valid certifications from the accredited laboratory as required, and meet all safety norms fully. The company has received a query from CBI and is fully cooperating with them to provide all the details.”