CBI books Hyderabad-based MEIL for bribing govt officials

It all began when a complaint was filed in 2013 by the chief vigilance officer, NMDC Hyderabad.

By Coreena Suares  Published on  13 April 2024 12:14 PM GMT
CBI books Hyderabad-based MEIL for bribing govt officials

Hyderabad: Megha Engineering and Infrastructure Limited (MEIL), a Hyderabad-based multi-million company, has been booked by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on charges of bribing government officials.

The federal agency has also booked eight government officers serving in the National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) for allegedly taking bribes from MEIL. This is probably the second case booked against MEIL after the Income Tax raids that took place in 2019. MEIL is on the list of India’s biggest political party funders.

Hyderabad-based Megha Engineering and Infrastructure Private Ltd topped the charts for being the biggest political donor in the country. Under the banner of MEIL and Western UP Power Transmission Limited, the group has donated close to Rs 1,200 crores.

What is the fraud?

Eight officials of the NISP and NMDC and two officials of MECON were also named in the FIR for receiving an alleged bribe of around Rs 78 lakh in clearing bills of Rs 174 crore of Megha Engineering in connection with works related to Jagdalpur integrated steel plant, officials said Saturday.

The sleuths of CBI acted on a complaint filed by a senior officer serving in the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) based in Chhattisgarh, Raipur. It is alleged that eight officials of Nagarnar Integrated Steel Plant, a project under NMDC, received bribes against payment by NMDC to Megha Engineering and Infrastructure Ltd (MEIL).

The allegations of corruption are regarding project works of intake well and pump house, DWTP and cross-country pipeline including five year O&M (Operation & Maintenance) contract of NMDC Iron and Steel Plant Limited (NISP) which was awarded to MEIL.

It all began when a complaint was filed in 2013 by the chief vigilance officer (CVO) of NMDC, Hyderabad. The complaint pointed fingers at one Prasant Dash, a senior officer with NISP. The project is pegged at Rs 314.5 crores.

It is further alleged that Subhash Chandra, GM (Projects) of MEIL, paid money (bribe) to Prasant Dash, former ED (executive director), NISP, for getting an official favour. The preliminary enquiry of this matter disclosed that the contract between NMDC, Hyderabad, and a consortium comprising MEIL (consortium leader) and Koya & Company Construction Ltd (KCCL), Hyderabad, (member) was executed on January 23, 2015, for intake well and pump house and cross-country pipeline system for MTPA integrated steel plant at Nagarnar, Chhattisgarh. P Subbaiah, director (Project), MEIL and TK Saleem, executive director, KCCL and KM Sathees Kumar, executive director were the signatories of the contract.

Records showed source of bribing

When the probing agency checked the e-mails, it was found that MEIL received a sum of Rs 174,41,28,492 (Rs 174 crores) from NMDC against 73 invoices raised by them. As against the receipt of payment against these invoices raised by MEIL, bribes were paid to the officials of NISP/NMDC Ltd and MECON, who processed and recommended the passing of 73 invoices.

The bribe is to the tune of Rs 73,85,517 (Rs 73 lakhs). Besides NMDC officials, two officials of MECON namely Sanjeev Sahay, AGM (Contracts) and K Illavarsu, DGM (Contract), received payment of Rs 5,01,735 as a bribe.

The CBI has booked them under sections 120-B of IPC r/w 465 of IPC and Section 7, 8, 9 of PC Act 1988 (Amended) and substantive offences thereof on their part.

The accused include:

1. Dilip Kumar Mohanty, director (Production)/director (Pers), NMDC/NISP, Ministry of Steel.

2. Pradeep Kumar Bhuyan, DGM, NISP, Ministry of Steel, Nagarnar, Jagdalpur, Bastar, Chhattisgarh.

3. Naresh Babu, deputy manager (Survey), NISP, NMDC, Ministry of Steel.

4. Suvro Banerjee, senior manager, NISP.

5. L Krishna Mohan, chief general manager (Finance) (Retd.), NMDC, NISP

6. K Rajshekhar, general manager (Finance), NMDC

7. Somnath Ghosh, manager (Finance), NMDC

8. Sanjeev Sahay, AGM (Contracts) (Retd.), MECON, Ministry of Steel.

9. K Illavarsu, DGM (Contracts) (Retd.), MECON, Ministry of Steel.

10. Subhash Chandra Sangras, GM, MELI (Private Person).

11. Megha Engineering and Infrastructure Ltd, Hyderabad, Telangana.

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