BSNL faces CBI probe for Rs 1,000 crore payment to Chinese contractor

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday issued notice to the CBI on a plea seeking a probe into allegations of BSNL’s illegal payments to a private contractor that allegedly caused a loss of about Rs 1,000 crore to the exchequer.

A division bench of Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal sought response from the Central Bureau of Investigation within four weeks and posted the matter for April 26.

The Public Interest Litigation filed by a society, Telecom Watchdog, had sought direction for the CBI to investigate a complaint filed with the agency on March 11, 2016.

The petitioner had alleged that Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd officials released unauthorised payments to its contractor by fabricating a clause of the tender document, causing loss to the exchequer.

Appearing for the petitioner, advocate Prashant Bhushan alleged that there was a criminal conspiracy between the BSNL officials and a Chinese contractor having its office in Gurugram, Haryana.

The plea said the BSNL officials connived with the Chinese company and forged official records of the BSNL by introducing a non-existent clause so that undue payments of about Rs 1,000 crore could be released to the company.

“BSNL is a financially stressed company with reccurring losses year after year and its officials, instead of protecting its revenues being trustee of the company, had engaged in its loot to favour a private company in violation of the tender conditions,” said the plea.