In a letter written to the Union Steel Minister and the Prime Minister, senior advocate and AAP leader Prashant Bhushan has alleged a Rs. 920-crore scam in the bidding of the Steel Authority of India’s crushing, beneficiation & pellet plant at Gua Ore Mines.
Mr. Bhushan, in his letter, which The Hindu accessed, has alleged that the project through the SAIL office in Kolkata was finalised in violation of the laws with a cartel of private companies gaining undue advantage. Consequently, the lawyer has alleged, the project cost was illegitimately inflated from the original budget of around Rs.1,820 crore to above Rs.2,850 crore by falsifying the figures.
Mr. Bhushan has accused Larsen & Toubro and McNally Bharat of forming a cartel with others and colluding with SAIL officials, other individuals and consultants to fix the bidding process. The decision on the bid was to be taken on February 14.
SAIL responded to queries by The Hindu to say, “The issue has already been examined extensively at various levels, both within and outside SAIL. We will take further action strictly according to laid- down legal, commercial and technical procedures.”
An L&T representative, when shown Mr. Bhushan’s letter, said, “We have not been informed of any such developments. L&T has a long-standing record of ethical business conduct.” Mc Nally Bharat representatives and offices did not respond to questions.
Mr. Bhushan has also alleged that Sanjay Kumar Pasari had acted as a middleman. Mr. Parsari’s name has arisen earlier, too, in controversial deals relating to the Steel Ministry, and he has been put on the list of ‘undesirable contact men’ by the CBI, Mr. Bhushan said. Mr. Pasari could not be reached for comment.
Calling this specific case as the ‘tip of the iceberg’ in a larger scam in SAIL, Mr. Bhushan recorded that others raised the issue with different authorities before but there was ‘no action’.