The Central Bureau of Investigation on Tuesday arrested two senior scientists of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) on charges of corruption. Surprise checks conducted at the office of the BIS at Taramani here revealed irregularities in the approval/renewal of licences issued to packaged drinking water units. About 300 units were found to be functioning with expired licence in and around Chennai, agency sources said.
A special team of the CBI’s Anti-Corruption Branch conducted a surprise check on Monday.
Seizure of several documents pointed to many irregularities in the approval/renewal of licences to packaged drinking water units.
Investigation revealed that two officials G. Venkatnarayanan, Scientist (E) and P.N. Murali, Scientist (D) engaged Vinayagamoorthy, proprietor of Excel Water Systems, to process new applications seeking licence of packaged drinking water units.
“Vinayagamoorthy would insist that he would provide the machinery for the units. Besides, he would charge Rs. 2.5 lakh as processing charges. The modus operandi was that he would provide the machinery and also arrange for the licence,” a senior investigator said. Venkatnarayanan was in possession of Rs. 60,000. A search conducted on his house at Valasaravakkam here revealed Rs. 15 lakh, 2,700 USD and 100 Euros. “We have also seized about 100 property documents. Going through the files found at the office, it appears that not less than 300 packaged drinking water units were functioning without a valid licence. Applications seeking renewal of licences were kept pending. While fresh licences are valid for three years, they have to be renewed every year after that,” he said.
Searches were also conducted on the premises of Murali and Vinayagamoorthy. The three were arrested and produced before the XII Additional Sessions Judge R. Killivalavan, who remanded them in judicial custody till February 26, 2013.
“We are also probing allegations that the scientists took bribes and gave renewal of licences without actually inspecting the packaged drinking water units. Where laboratory tests were positive, indicating deviation of stipulated safety standards in the units, they took bribes and changed the reports,” the official added.