CBI books Delhi minister Satyendar Jain in graft case, conducts searches

New Delhi: The CBI has booked Delhi minister Satyendar Jain in a case pertaining to alleged corruption in hiring a creative team for the Public Works Department to suggest new architectural designs and bring down costs, officials said.

CBI has booked Delhi minister Satyendar Jain in a case pertaining to alleged corruption in hiring a creative team for the PWD to suggest new architectural designs and bring down costs

Jain, who holds the PWD portfolio, is already facing a Central Bureau of Investigation case related to alleged money laundering.

In the new case registered yesterday, the agency has also named then officials of the PWD — engineer-in-chief S K Srivastava, principal director (projects) Manu Amitabh, deputy director (admin), A K Pait, project manager P C Chanana as accused.

CBI teams today carried out searches at various locations, including the residence of Jain and other accused in the matter.

In a tweet, the minister said the agency was carrying out searches at his residence.

“Professionals were hired for different projects. All were forced to leave by the CBI,” he said on the social media site.

The CBI had registered a preliminary enquiry in the matter on April 5 last year and converted it into a regular case after it allegedly found prima facie evidence.

During a year-long preliminary enquiry, the CBI said it found that Jain had allegedly entered into a criminal conspiracy with the officials of the PWD to award the tender to Soni Detective and Allied Services for hiring the creative team for the department’s works.

It alleged that the accused abused their official position to change the terms and conditions of the notice inviting the tender to bring within the eligibility criteria the company, which had no prior experience of such work.

The order, issued by OSD to Jain, D C Goel, had proposed hiring of the creative team for PWD works for elaborate brain storming and planning not only architectural designs of government buildings, but also developing cost-effective methods of construction, it said.

In September 2015, it was proposed that young professionals from reputed institutions such as the IITs, NITs, NID, SPA and IIMs could be hired with monthly emoluments ranging from Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh for the creative team as the PWD did not have such in-house capacity, the enquiry report said.

“No minutes of any meeting held by Satyendar Jain, Minister of PWD, are available based on which this decision to hire the creative team was purportedly taken. Similarly, there was no request from the PWD for hiring of such a creative team,” the agency alleged.

The CBI alleged that the funds which were to be spent for the team from the department of the accounting head of the elevated corridor for the Barapullah-III project, were “dishonestly” changed for the purpose of Mohalla clinics on February 19, 2016.

The funds for architects and consultants could be met from savings of a project as per the CPWD manual but only in case of urgent requirement, while in this case no such urgent requirement was part of the records, it alleged.

The condition for hiring professionals from the IITs and similar esteemed institutes was gradually diluted and finally omitted from the notice for the tender issued on March 15, 2016, it claimed.

No market survey was done prior to the fixing of remunerations of the consultants, the agency alleged.