The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has taken a significant step in its ongoing efforts to combat corruption by registering a case against 21 officials, including high-ranking personnel, of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL). The case was filed based on a complaint lodged by BSNL, Assam Circle, Guwahati.
According to the complaint, the accused officials, including the then General Manager, then Deputy General Manager, then Assistant General Manager, and the Chief Accounts Officer of BSNL in Jorhat, Sibsagar, Guwahati, and other locations, colluded with a contractor and others to commit fraud against the organization. It is alleged that they conspired to deceive BSNL by manipulating a work order related to the laying of the National Optical Fibre Network Cable.
The complaint states that the contractor was initially awarded the work order for laying the cable using the open trenching method at a rate of Rs. 90,000 per kilometer. However, it is alleged that the contractor later made various excuses, including claims of no right of way from private landowners, and convinced the officials to switch to the more expensive Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) method, costing Rs. 2,30,000 per kilometer. This switch violated the terms of the tender and resulted in an estimated loss of approximately Rs. 22 crore to BSNL.
In response to the case, the CBI conducted searches at 25 different locations, including the offices and residential premises of the accused individuals. These searches, carried out in the states of Assam, Bihar, West Bengal, Odisha, and Haryana, proved fruitful as incriminating evidence was recovered.
The investigation into the alleged fraud is still ongoing.
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