Two top MTNL officials under CBI scanner for scheme fraud

Mumbai: CBI has registered an FIR against two top officials of MTNL, some of their juniors and nine distributors for allegedly cheating the service provider to the tune of Rs seven crore by issuing over three lakh fake SIM card connections, its officials said today.

Deputy General Manager B B Chaudhary, Assistant General Manager (Sales) V Gurumurthy of the government-run telecom service provider MTNL, their juniors and nine private distributors were charged with criminal conspiracy for causing wrongful losses to the company, they said.

According to CBI's Anti Corruption Bureau, during the period June 2008 and February 2009, a scheme called SIM 75 was introduced under which SIM cards with a value of Rs 75 were provided to the distributors at Rs 50 per flat commission per card.

Under the scheme the distributors were also entitled for a commission of Rs 150 for each activated connection upto 600 connections, Rs 200 for 600 to 2000 connections and Rs 250 for above 2000 connections, they said.

However, it came to CBI's notice that MTNL officials, including these two top officials helped distributors activate thousands of fake connections on the basis of forged Customer Application Forms and cleared huge amount of commission, they said.

An investigation by the CBI has uncovered that the MTNL officials have cleared the commission of the distributors for over three lakh fake SIM connections, the officials said, adding an FIR was registered against the accused in the special CBI court on August 9.

The number of junior officials involved in the fraud is not yet clear, they added.

Searches were conducted at the offices and residential premises of the accused here, the officials said.