A big controversy on procurement of Rs. 35,000 crore worth equipment by telecom behemoth BSNL is brewing becasue of positions taken by the two government nominees on the Board, threatening the mega expansion programme of the PSU.

While the major equipment supplier Ericsson has lowered its price substantially after negotiations for the GSM expansion contract, the two government nominees — joint secretary J.S. Deepak and a senior DoT official P K Mittal — have raised some proprietary issues concerning the tender that was cleared in early 2009.

When contacted, BSNL CMD declined to get into the matter raised by the government nominees but told PTI that “The Board will look into all the issues and take the appropriate decision.”

Cancellation or any delay in the contract could hit BSNL at a time when the government is thinking of disinvestment, a senior official said on condition of anonymity.

A note given by DoT Joint Secretary J.S. Deepak has raised questions on the process followed by BSNL in evaluating the tender and is against the CVC guidelines.

“It was a single bid throughout the country... and BSNL has not done a comparative analysis on the basis of total cost to the company,” the note by Mr. Deepak said.

When contacted, he said “This was a comment to BSNL as a Board member and a government nominee” adding that a similar note was also submitted by another nominee P.K. Mittal.

More In: Companies | Business