Public sector company National Aluminium Company (Nalco) had to postpone its board meeting, which was scheduled for Saturday in view of the arrest of its chairman-cum-managing director (CMD) AK Srivastava by the CBI in New Delhi on corruption charges.
Officials in Nalco’s Bhubaneswar office said that the company’s New Delhi office confirmed about the chairman’s arrest. “The meeting was postponed due to the absence of the chairman and there is no further order from the government,” said an official.
The CBI on Friday arrested Srivastava with his wife Chandni Srivastava when he got his wife to accept an illegal gratification of three gold bricks, each weighing 1kg of 24 carat gold, from the wife of a middleman who was brokering a deal between the CMD and a Madhya Pradesh based private group of companies, according to a CBI press release.
Search of a bank locker used by them and personal search of his wife led to a total recovery of more than 10 kg of gold and Rs. 29 lakh in cash – the overall value of which came approximately to Rs. 2.43 crore at the current prices of gold, the CBI release said.
A CBI official said the CMD always preferred taking gold in bribe because it, unlike cash, never depreciated in value and hence was a better investment option.
Nalco has a total investment of about Rs. 30,000 crore in aluminium sector, most of which is in Orissa.
Srivastava’s arrest has come at a time Nalco had drawn up ambitious plans to transform itself from being only an aluminium producer to become a global metal producer and energy provider.
The company has set a target to achieve an annual turnover of Rs. 25,000 crore, annual production of 1.7 million tones of aluminium and 4 million tones of alumina by 2020.
“We have plans to venture into new fields of activity beyond aluminium by setting two diversified projects and target at least one 1000 megawatt (MW) independent power plant (IPP) by 2016,” Srivastava had said at the Navaratna company’s 29th annual general meeting in October 2010.
A company source told HT that the expansion plan was in full swing. Contracts for expansion plans and raw materials purchases were worth thousands of crores, the source said.