The Central Bureau of Investigation has instituted four preliminary inquiries into allegations of corruption in certain private-public-partnership projects undertaken by the Delhi Jal Board for water distribution management systems and procurement of water meters worth hundreds of crores. The agency is probing whether the tender documents were tweaked to swing the tenders in favour of any private company.
The projects under the scanner are water distribution management systems in Nangloi, Malviya Nagar and Mehrauli. Under the PPP model, the operation and maintenance of these units were awarded to a European company. The State Government had taken the initiative to ensure uninterrupted water supply in different parts of the city.
The agency suspects that tender documents were “tailor-made” to ensure that the works were awarded to the firm. However, the DJB has refuted the charges stating that all set norms were followed for the bidding and award of tenders.
The CBI has instituted a separate inquiry against unknown DJB officials, the private company and the others for alleged corruption in the Nangloi command network project said to be worth Rs.652 crore. The role of the water and waste management company and the consultants roped in for the job would also be investigated in the other two projects.
The fourth inquiry has been instituted into procurement of water-metres following allegations that faulty metres had been supplied for installation. It has been alleged that the first lot of metres procured through private companies were earlier rejected by the Fluid Control Research Institute. However, the second batch got a clearance.
Non-government organisations, including Water Works Alliance and Citizen Front for Water Democracy (CFWD), had earlier alleged corruption in the award of the works under scrutiny to private companies by the DJB under PPP. “We had also approached the Chief Vigilance Commission seeking a probe into the matter,” said S. A. Naqvi of the CFWD.
The NGOs had accused two of the companies of not being technically eligible for the works awarded to them, a charge refuted by DJB officials.