The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has been given a go ahead from the information and broadcasting ministry to initiate an enquiry against the suspended Chief Executive Officer of Prasar Bharati, B S Lalli.
The ministry has given a sanction to the CBI to probe Lalli’s role in award of broadcasting rights of the Commonwealth Games to UK based SIS Live, believed to have caused a loss of Rs 135 crore to the national exchequer.
The ministry is yet to give approval to CBI for investigating the then Doordarshan Director General Aruna Sharma, an IAS officer of the Madhya Pradesh cadre. Sharma has now been reverted back to her cadre. The delay is ostensibly because the ministry is awaiting her response to the findings of the V K Shunglu committee report on corruption in the broadcasting sector. She is to submit her reply by end of March.
The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) had asked CBI to initiate action against both the officials on the basis of the recommendations of the Shunglu committee. The PMO had also directed the ministry to review the claims made by M/s SIS LIVE, jointly with Prasar Bharati and in consultation with their financial advisers, to ensure that there is no over payment.
Both Lalli and Sharma had denied allegations of any wrongdoing and said all decisions were taken after taking approval from the ministry.
In its report, the committee had fixed the responsibility for providing "undue benefit" to SIS Live and Zoom Communications, primarily on Lalli and Sharma, and said they cannot be recused from the acts of omission and commission which facilitated this wrong doing.