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CBI books former ESIC Director-General, 7 others

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has booked former Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) Director-General P.C. Chaturvedi and seven others for alleged corruption in the allocation of architectural consultancy works and irregularities in setting up medical colleges.

Among those named as accused are the then ESIC Financial Commissioner Rajiv Dutta; Chief Engineer P. R. Roy; Director (Finance) A.K. Sinha; Executive Engineer Rajiv Kumar; Joint Director V. Subromanian; Consultant J. Sarup; and D. Kumar, the then Consultant with the Hindustan Latex Limited under the Health Ministry.

The CBI had instituted two preliminary enquiries in March 2018 against Mr. Chaturvedi, a retired IAS officer, and others on allegations that during 2007-09, he had sanctioned 14 projects worth ₹6,255.39 crore in violation of the Central Vigilance Commission guidelines and other rules.

It was alleged that the then Director-General did not have powers under the ESIC Act to sanction the construction of medical colleges and his power of sanctioning capital works was limited to ₹25 crore only.

Based on the inquiry findings, the CBI alleges that Mr. Chaturvedi had approved the deputation of P.R. Roy for the post of Chief Engineer without issuing any advertisement and without calling for his integrity certificate. He, along with others, allegedly empanelled ineligible architect consultants in the ESIC for construction of ESI hospitals, dispensaries, offices and housing facilities.

In response to an advertisement given in November 2007 for hiring architect consultants, 63 applications were received. Mr. Chaturvedi constituted a committee in December 2007 to shortlist the candidates.

The committee recommended 19 firms, following which the scrutiny committee recommended two companies, Skyline Architectural Consultant Private Limited and Sthapati Associates Private Limited, despite the fact that they allegedly did not meet the set criteria. The then Director-General approved the same. He later roped in two more consultants, Hosmac India and Kapoor & Associates, on Mr. Subramonian’s proposal, as a special case.

It is alleged that the architectural consultancy works were allotted on nomination basis and in an arbitrary manner. Some firms were extended favours and allotted a significantly higher number of works.

The CBI also alleges that the consultant for Medical Education Project, which submitted the feasibility report, had not at all examined the issue of starting medical colleges at seven places in Gulbarga (Karnataka) Bihta (Bihar), Mandi (Himachal Pradesh), Alwar (Rajasthan), Manicktala (Kolkata), Faridabad (Haryana) and Bhubaneswar (Odisha).

However, it is alleged, the then Director-General initiated action to establish medical colleges at four places in Gulbarga, Bihta, Mandi and Alwar, where the mandatory Insured Person units were not available.

Some companies said to have been floated by accused D. Kumar are also suspected to have links with Mr. Chaturvedi’s family members, according to the agency.

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Printable version | Sep 20, 2020 1:37:44 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/business/cbi-books-former-esic-dg-for-alleged-violation-of-cvc-guidelines-in-sanctioning-projects-worth-6255-crore/article32297672.ece

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