Coalnet: CVC recommends penal action against 3 IIT professors



New Delhi: The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has recommended penal action against three professors of Indian Institutes of Technology, including director of IIT-Patna for their alleged involvement in multi-crore 'coalnet' scam.

The CVC has recommended major penalty proceedings against Professor Anil K Bhowmick and Professor R N Banerjee, and minor penalty against Professor P P Chakrabarti for their alleged involvement in the scam, official sources said.

Major penalty proceedings include dismissal of service. A delinquent government employee faces censure and withholding of increment among others in case of minor penalty.

Bhowmick is director of IIT Patna. Both Banerjee and Chakraborty are associated with IIT-Kharagpur as Head of Department (HoD) and dean respectively.

Various norms and contract conditions were violated in digitisation of eight subsidiaries of Coal India Ltd (CIL) through the coalnet project given to IIT Kharagpur, one of the country's premier institutes, in 2001.

A report by Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has also found irregularities including delay in implementation of the project among others.

A Committee headed by the Secretary, Ministry of Coal & Mines (MoC), had in November 2000 decided to implement computer network project coalnet for data sharing between the MoC, CIL and its subsidiaries.

As per directive from MoC, bids were invited from two government organisations, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur and National Informatics Centre (NIC), New Delhi.

A work order for an amount of Rs 8.95 crore was issued by the CIL on IIT, Kharagpur on July 3, 2001 for its implementation.

Under Phase I, duration of the project was two years including maintenance support. The first Phase of the project was scheduled to be completed within 12 months from the date of awarding work order.

"As per work order, under Phase I, 13 modules were to be implemented in each of the subsidiaries and the company headquarters aggregating to 117 modules. But only 21 modules. were implemented as on April 2008.

"In spite of this, an amount of Rs 6.55 crore was paid to IIT for implementation of Phase I against total contracted amount of Rs 8.95 crore for Phase I," the CAG report for 2009-10 noted.

It also found inadequate study of business processes and non-involvement of users, incorrect business rule mapping and unfruitful expenditure on procurement or hiring of hardware materials in Bharat Coking Coal Limited (BCCL) and Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL), in the implementation of coalnet.

PTI