CBI books senior Dredging Corporation of India official for Rs. 50-crore corruption

The CBI has booked a Chief Project Manager of the Dredging Corporation of India (DCI) Limited, Van Oord India Private Limited (VOIPL) and others for alleged corruption of about ₹.50 crore in the dredging work at the Mumbai Harbour Channel and the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Channel in 2020-21.

The official, B. Durga Prasad Babu, has been accused of conniving with the Mumbai-based company pertaining to the award/execution of the tender.

The DCI had invited the tender for dredging and dumping the extracted material at a designated site in order to achieve the design depth in the navigational channel. The payment was to be made based on the quantity of dredged and dumped material. In this regard, three work orders were issued to the lowest bidder, VOIPL, with a cumulative quantity of work as 20.01 million cubic metre, with the overall contract value of ₹.144.96 crore.

The work was to be completed in seven months and two weeks. When the pre-dredging survey to fix the initial lines and levels were conducted in October 2020, the company submitted charters and volume computation of 27.5 million cubic metre. The Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust rejected it, terming the same unrealistic and exorbitant.

As alleged, the company had inflated the quantities against the guidelines of the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways. Therefore, the DCI directed independent reconfirmation survey by the Indian Institute of Technology-Chennai, which was held in November 2020. It reported 23.22 million cubic metre as the quantity.

According to the First Information Report (FIR), VOIPL started the dredging work on October 28 2020, almost two months prior to the approval of pre-survey levels and concluded it on January 25, 2021, two weeks before clearance to the pre-dredging survey. The company raised two bills, well before the survey approval, which started that the survey quantity was 10.42 million cubic metre.

No survey

As alleged, no survey was conducted between January 6 and 25, 2021. The complaint said assuming that VOIPL continued to work with the same efficiency till January 25, it could have dredged and dumped only 3.56 million cubic metre of material, amounting to a cumulative volume of 13.99 million cubic metre.

The DCI considered the quantity of 14.83 million cubic metre as per the daily dredging reports duly signed by VOIPL, IIT- Chennai and the DCI, as dredged and dumped at the designated site. It is alleged that despite the daily reports, the company claimed money for the alleged dredging of 19.34 million cubic metre.

After stopping the work, VOIPL failed to establish as to on what basis it claimed the additional quantity of 4.6 million cubic metre as dredged and dumped, stated the FIR, adding that Mr. Babu issued certificates allegedly stating that the contract work had been completed to the DCI’s satisfaction.

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Printable version | May 16, 2022 6:30:05 pm |