CBI arrests Power Grid executive director, 5 Tata Projects officials in graft case

NEW DELHI, 7 Jul: The CBI has arrested a Power Grid Corporation of India’s executive director and five officials of Tata Projects, including an executive vice president and an assistant VP, in connection with alleged bribery to favour the private company in contracts and other works, officials said on Thursday.

They said that the probe agency arrested the accused – PGCIL’s BS Jha, and Tata Projects’ executive VP Desh Raj Pathak, assistant VP RN Singh and its three other officials – after conducting searches at 11 locations on Wednesday, which continued till Thursday.

The CBI recovered Rs 93 lakhs from the premises of Jha in Gurugram, they said.

The CBI had received source information about the alleged bribery in electricity projects following which Jha, who was posted in Itanagar, was put under surveillance. During the surveillance, it surfaced that Jha was allegedly receiving bribes from the executives of Tata Projects for granting favours, the officials said.

The CBI action followed an FIR against Jha, Pathak and Singh.

The company Tata Projects and its three other officials – Nafeej Hussain Khan, Randheer Kumar Singh and Sandeep Kumar Dubey – are also named as accused in the FIR.

“It was alleged that the public servant (Jha) in conspiracy with others was involved in extending favours to the said company (Tata Projects) for various work, viz, preparation of inflated bills, early clearing of bills, price variation clause, etc, related to contracts of Power Grid Corporation of India Limited in lieu of demand and acceptance of illegal gratification,” a statement from the CBI said.

According to the source information, which became basis for the FIR, Tata Projects was given the contracts under World Bank-funded North Eastern Region Power System Improvement Project, a comprehensive scheme for improving power infrastructure of the region, officials in the agency said.

Later in a formal statement, the CBI said the company had bagged tenders pertaining to “a comprehensive scheme for Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim.”

World Bank-funded North Eastern Region Power System Improvement Project does not cover Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim, according to Power Grid Corporation officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“We adhere to strong norms in all our business transactions and have zero tolerance to any compromise on the same. We would extend our complete support to the relevant authorities,” a spokesperson of Tata Projects said.

Officials in the Power Grid Corporation claimed that Jha was posted as executive director in Comprehensive T&D scheme of Arunachal Pradesh.

The role of Desh Raj Pathak, executive vice president and SBU head (transmission & distribution) India, SAARC and SEA at Tata Projects Limited; and RN Singh, AVP business head (distribution) came to the fore while the CBI was keeping an eye on Jha’s activities.

All the six arrested accused were produced before Panchkula court on Thursday, which sent them to CBI custody till 15 July, the officials added. (PTI)