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Four NHAI officials charged with corruption

The raids have been conducted at seven places in Delhi, Chandigarh and Lucknow, reports Archis Mohan.

india Updated: Oct 18, 2006 23:42 IST
Archis Mohan
Archis Mohan

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday charged four senior National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) officials, including its general manager PC Arya with corruption, forgery, cheating and abuse of official position.

The CBI's FIR has accused the officials and a contractor of cheating the NHAI of Rs 6.25 crore by carrying out poor quality work between Panipat and Sonepat stretch of the NH1.

The CBI raided the houses and official premises of NHAI's general manager (technical) PC Arya, project director Nissar Ahmed, manager (technical) Rajender Garg and former manager (technical) Major DP Singh.

All of them are or were posted at NHAI's Project Implementation Unit at Sonepat in 2003-04. It also raided the house and business premises of Ashok Garg, proprietor of Garg Construction Company.

The raids were conducted at seven places in Delhi, Chandigarh and Lucknow. The CBI seized Rs 13 lakh in cash from Ahmed's ancestral home in Lucknow.

PC Arya, incidentally is the husband of Anita Arya, a former BJP MP from the Karol Bagh parliamentary constituency. She was also a former mayor of Delhi.

When contacted, the former MP said she would be able to comment on the matter once she gets to know all the details. "I do not have any information about this CBI raid," said Anita Arya.

The CBI had searched Arya's Siddhartha Extension home from where the agency claimed to have recovered "incriminating documents".

The CBI has alleged that during 2003-04, the private contractor entered a criminal conspiracy with these officials of NHAI at Sonepat and cheated NHAI of Rs 6.25 crore without proper execution of work as per the terms and specifications of the contract agreement.

The contractor submitted forged experience certificate and balance sheet in order to fulfill the eligibility requirement," said CBI's spokesman G Mohanty.

The CBI said that the NHAI officials did not conduct the necessary quality tests and that the bitumen concrete material used to construct the road was of poor quality. The agency also alleged that the officials allowed fraudulent entries in the 'measurement books' and recommended the bills for payment.

"PC Arya was responsible for overall supervision of the work and payment to the contractor. He was required to conduct quality control tests. Arya, in criminal conspiracy with Garg, passed the 'running bills' without conducting the quality control tests and test checking the measurements," states the CBI's FIR.

The NHAI, constituted by an act of Parliament in 1988 is responsible for the development, maintenance, and management of the National Highways.

The NHAI is mandated to implement the National Highways Development Project (NHDP), which include the Golden Quadrilateral and North-South-East-West corridors.

First Published: Oct 18, 2006 23:42 IST