CBI team to leave for UK to probe NTPC kickback case
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Last Updated: Sunday, December 06, 2009, 18:25
New Delhi: A CBI team will soon go to the United Kingdom to get details about the bank account of an Indian firm alleged to have received about Rs 120 crore as kickback from a Russian company for providing "consultancy" in bagging the Rs 8,600-crore super thermal power contract project of NTPC in Barh in Bihar.

Official sources said the team would soon leave for London for holding consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) officials and Scotland Yard sleuths to understand the complete chain of money transactions and the associates of the firm M/S Ravina Associates Pvt Ltd.

The account of the firm is in NATWEST bank, which was frozen by the CPS after the CBI requested for the same. It belongs to the firm which was providing "consultancy" service to the Russian company - Technopromexport - which bagged the contract in the 1,980 MW (660MWx3) Barh power project in February 2005.

The Indian company had approached a CBI court here to seek lifting of restraint order on the bank account so that it could pay the demand of Rs 44.31 crore raised by the Income Tax department on the firm.

However, the plea was turned down by the court which also imposed Rs 20,000 on the firm for "having wasted its time in an attempt to bring back prima facie illegitimate money, which belonged to the tax payers and had found its way to the account."

CBI, which registered a case against unknown officials of NTPC and others in February 2006, had alleged that during 2002-05 the NTPC had entered into three contracts with TPE Russia and transferred USD 53.63 lakh to it as advance money.

Out of this, the Russian firm is alleged to have transferred USD 10.37 lakh and USD 10.37 lakh to M/s Ravina Associates Pvt Ltd at Natwest Bank on May five and May 18, 2005 respectively.

The CBI alleged that the money was paid by TPE Russia to the Indian firm as commission equaling a percentage of the contract.

NTPC had given the contract to TPE in 2005, when the PSU was headed by C P Jain, for supplying equipment to a power project in Bihar.

The three-year-old CBI investigations into the alleged irregularities in awarding of the contract is yet to be completed as the agency is still awaiting information from the UK and Latvia.

"The CBI has issued Letters Rogatory (LRs) through the competent courts for investigation and information to the UK and Latvia. Since the complete information has not been received from abroad, the investigation is yet to be completed," CBI spokesperson Harsh Bhal had said earlier.

The government was also giving a serious thought to cancel the contract to TPE as the project was running behind the schedule with the Russian firm asking a higher price for equipment due to increase in raw material costs.


First Published: Sunday, December 06, 2009, 18:25

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