Permission not yet granted for prosecution of Aruna Sharma
With the Information and Broadcasting Ministry giving the Central Bureau of Investigation sanction to prosecute the suspended Prasar Bharti CEO, B.S. Lalli, the agency is likely to file a case against him soon in connection with the alleged irregularities in the award of broadcast rights of the Commonwealth Games that caused the exchequer a loss of Rs.135 crore.
Well-placed sources in the CBI said a case against Mr. Lalli would be registered soon.
However, the Ministry has not yet given permission for prosecution of the former Doordarshan Director-General, Aruna Sharma, an IAS officer of the Madhya Pradesh cadre. She was ordered reverted to her parent cadre by the Prime Minister's Office.
The CBI acted against the two officials after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh referred the matter to the agency. After receiving the V.K. Shunglu Committee's report, Dr. Singh directed that explanations be sought from Mr. Lalli and Ms. Sharma. Both have denied charges of wrongdoing.
The Shunglu Committee's report had called for action against Mr. Lalli and Ms. Sharma for what it termed “glaring irregularities” in the deals with the U.K.-based SIS Live and Zoom Communications. It said the broadcast rights were given to SIS Live for Rs. 246 crore, while the actual cost of coverage was Rs.111 crore. On the day SIS Live got the contract, it outsourced the rights to Zoom Communications for Rs.176 crore, making a profit of Rs.70 crore. When Income Tax Department officials opened an investigation, they found that Zoom Communications had spent only Rs. 111 crore.
The report said certain actions seemed to attract penal provisions under Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Prevention of Corruption Act, which need to be investigated separately.