KD NEWS SERVICE
NEW DELHI, Apr 28: The CBI questioned former Jammu and Kashmir governor Satya Pal Malik for nearly five hours Friday in connection with its probe into the alleged insurance scam in the Union Territory which came to light after his statement that he was offered bribes to clear related files, officials said.
A Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) team arrived at the Som Vihar residence of Malik in the R K Puram area of the national capital around 11.45 am to seek clarifications over his claims, they said.
Officials said the exercise continued for nearly five hours during which several questions were lobbed at him about the claims made in his statements recorded with the CBI last year.
This is the second time in seven months that Malik, who served as governor of various states, was quizzed by the CBI. Officials, however, clarified that Malik is not an accused or a suspect in the case so far. His statement was recorded in October last year after he concluded his gubernatorial responsibilities in Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, Goa, and Meghalaya.
After the latest CBI notice to seek clarifications from him, Malik had tweeted, ”I have exposed the sins of some people by speaking the truth. Maybe that’s why I have been called. I am the son of a farmer, I will not panic. I stand by the truth.” The CBI registered two FIRs in connection with the corruption allegations levelled by Malik in awarding contracts for a group medical insurance scheme for government employees and civil work worth Rs 2,200 crore related to the Kiru hydroelectric power project in Jammu and Kashmir.
Malik had claimed that he was offered a Rs 300 crore bribe for clearing two files during his tenure as the Jammu and Kashmir governor between August 23, 2018, and October 30, 2019. The agency has booked Reliance General Insurance and Trinity Re-Insurance Brokers Limited as accused in its FIR related to the medical insurance scheme for Jammu and Kashmir government employees reportedly cleared by Malik at a state administrative council meeting on August 31, 2018. The scheme was subsequently scrapped.
Unknown officials of the finance department of the government of Jammu and Kashmir, by abusing their official positions in a conspiracy and connivance with Trinity Reinsurance Brokers Limited, Reliance General Insurance Company Limited and other unknown public servants and private persons, have committed the offences of criminal conspiracy and criminal misconduct,” one of the FIRs allege.
They caused ”pecuniary advantage to themselves and wrongful loss to the state exchequer during the period 2017 and 2018 and thereby, in this manner, cheated the government of Jammu and Kashmir”, it further alleges.
In the second FIR about alleged malpractices in the awarding of contracts for the civil work package of the Kiru hydroelectric power project, the CBI alleged that the guidelines related to e-tendering were not followed.
”The case was registered on allegations of malpractices in the award of the contract worth Rs 2,200 crore (approximately) of civil works of the Kiru Hydro Electric Power Project (HEP) to a private company in the year 2019,” it has said.
The probe agency has booked senior IAS officer Navin Kumar Chaudhary, former chairman of Chenab Valley Power Projects (Private) Limited, M S Babu, former managing director, M K Mittal and Arun Kumar Mishra, former directors, and Patel Engineering Limited.
”Though a decision was taken in the 47th board meeting of CVPPL (Chenab Valley Power Projects Limited) for re-tender through e-tendering with the reverse auction after the cancellation of the ongoing tendering process, the same was not implemented (as per the decision taken in the 48th board meeting) and the tender was finally awarded to Patel Engineering Limited,” the FIR alleged. (Agencies)