The premises of a former chairman of the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), three top officials, and a company believed to be close to the former Telecom Minister, A. Raja, were on Saturday searched by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in connection with the alleged scam of Rs.535 crore in award of contracts for WiMax services.
The agency has registered a case against the then chairman-cum-managing director of BSNL, Kuldeep Goyal; the director, consumer mobility, R.K. Agarwal; then general manager Pradeep Narang; and then deputy general manager (Strategic Planning) Anil Kumar besides two private companies, CBI sources said. Nine teams of agency officials carried out searches in Delhi, Faridabad, Ghaziabad, Gurgaon, Chennai and Kolkata, they said.
“Abuse of position”
The officials allegedly abused their position and facilitated award in 2009 of Leased Service Area (LSA) contract for development of WiMax services to StarNet Communications, considered to have close links with Mr. Raja, even though it did not fulfil the eligibility criteria, they said.
“It is alleged that the said company did not have the required qualification of Rs.100 crore annual turnover for the last two years,” CBI said in a statement.
The agency has booked directors of StarNet Communications, Rajesh Bhatt and S. Manoharan, in connection with the case and carried out searches at their offices in Kolkata and Chennai.
Another company, Wellcom Communications, was also searched during the operation, sources said.
The BSNL officials allegedly hatched a criminal conspiracy and facilitated the award of franchisee for three LSAs to StarNet by “dishonestly and intentionally withholding the sale of tender documents in a fraudulent manner, and, diluting the eligibility conditions,” they said.