New Delhi: Following a four-year-long investigation, the CBI has closed a case against Delhi PWD Minister Satyendar Jain and others related to alleged corruption in the hiring of a creative team for the department, officials said on Thursday.
The agency has recently filed its closure report before a special court after failing to gather enough evidence to prosecute the Aam Admi Party leader and others in the case, they said.
The CBI refused to provide any comments on the development.
The agency had registered the case on May 28, 2018, on a reference from the office of the lieutenant governor of the NCT of Delhi to investigate the allegations of irregularities in the award of the tender to a private company for hiring a creative team for PWD works.
The agency claimed to have conducted a year-long preliminary inquiry, in which it leveled serious allegations of corruption against the minister. It went on to file a corruption case against Jain and other PWD officers based on its findings.
However, after four years of a probe into the allegations, the CBI did not find enough material to buttress its claims of corruption and prosecute the minister, resulting in the closure of the case.
”A preliminary inquiry was earlier conducted to look into the matter. It was alleged that the accused persons, while working in the capacity of public servants, deliberately changed the terms and conditions in the NIT to make the private company eligible for participating in the tender,” a CBI spokesperson had said after filing the FIR on May 29, 2018.
It was also alleged that the budget requirements were met in an unauthorized way by some other unrelated heads which were found improper and in violation of various guidelines and regulations, the official had said.
Soon after the registration of the FIR, the CBI had raided Jain’s residence which triggered a political reaction from Aam Aadmi Party supremo Arvind Kejriwal, who had tweeted: ”What does PM Modi want?” Kejriwal’s reaction came on a tweet by Jain, who had said, ”Cbi raids my house for hiring creative team by PWD. Professionals were hired for different projects. All were forced to leave by CBI (sic).” Besides Jain, the CBI had also booked several senior PWD officials of that time, including Sarvagya Kumar Srivastava, Engineer in Chief; Manu Ambitabh, Principal Director (Projects); A K Pait, Deputy Director (Admn); PC Chanana, Project Manager; and other unidentified officials.
Before registration of the FIR, the CBI had conducted a year-long preliminary inquiry into allegations against the minister which were flagged by the Delhi vigilance department.
The CBI had registered a preliminary inquiry in the matter on April 5, 2017, and claimed to have converted it into a regular case after it allegedly found prima facie evidence.
During the year-long preliminary inquiry, 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 positions to change the terms and conditions of the notice inviting the tender to bring within the eligibility criteria a company with no prior experience of such work.
The order, issued by OSD to Jain, DC Goel, had proposed hiring of the creative team for PWD works for elaborate brainstorming and planning not only architectural designs of government buildings but also developing cost-effective methods of construction, it had 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 inquiry report had alleged.
”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 the hiring of such a creative team,” the agency had alleged.
The CBI had 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 Mohalla clinics in 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 an urgent requirement, while in this case, no such urgent requirement was part of the records, it had 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 had claimed.
No market survey was done before the fixing of remunerations of the consultants, the agency had alleged.
Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by The Sen Times staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds.