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BSNL-WiiMax deal: CBI registers case; raids in TN

Last Updated: Saturday, February 25, 2012 - 19:50

New Delhi: Premises of former BSNL chairman, three top officials, and a company believed to be close to former Telecom Minister A Raja, were on Saturday searched by the CBI in connection with the alleged scam of Rs 535 crore in award of contracts for WiMax services.

The agency has registered a case against the then Chairman-cum-Managing Director of BSNL Kuldeep Goyal, Director Consumer Mobility R K Agarwal, the then General Manager Pradeep Narang and then DGM Strategic Planning Anil Kumar besides two private companies, CBI sources said.

Nine teams of agency officials carried out searches in Delhi, Faridabad, Ghaziabad, Gurgaon, Chennai and Kolkata, they said.

The officials allegedly abused their position and facilitated award of Leased Service Area (LSA) contract for development of WiMax services to Starnet Communications in 2009, considered to have close links with Raja, even though it did not fulfil eligibility criteria, they said.

The eligibility conditions stipulated that the company should have a turnover of Rs 100 crore.

"It is alleged that the said company did not have the required qualification of Rs 100 crore annual turnover for the last two years," CBI said in a statement.

There was an estimated wrongful loss of Rs 535.50 crore to Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited, the agency said.

The agency has booked Directors of Starnet Communication Rajesh Bhatt and S Manoharan in connection with the case and carried out searches at their offices in Kolkata and Chennai

Another company Wellcom Communications was also searched during the operation, sources said.

The BSNL officials allegedly hatched a criminal conspiracy and facilitated the award of franchisee for three LSAs to Starnet by "dishonestly and intentionally withholding the sale of tender documents in a fraudulent manner, and, diluting the eligibility conditions," they said.

WiMax technology (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) is used for providing high-speed internet connections in large areas through wireless means.

In 2009, Ampoules and Auto Private Limited owned by Rajesh Bhatt submitted their bid for the service when Raja was Telecom Minister, CBI sources said.

Sources said the company was allegedly well short of benchmark of Rs 100 crore annual turnover, set by the BSNL for awarding the contract.

During the bidding process, the name of company was changed to Starnet Communications but the condition of finances remained below eligibility conditions, they said.

The agency alleged that the company then manipulated its balance sheets showing inflated figures of Rs 100 crore annual returns to grab the contracts.


First Published: Saturday, February 25, 2012 - 11:38
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