J&K bribery cases: CBI questions former J&K governor Satya Pal Malik about his allegations for five hours
NEW DELHI :
TheCBI questioned Satya Pal Malik for more than five hours on Friday as part of its investigation into the alleged insurance scandal in the Union Territory, which came to light following the former governor of Jammu and Kashmir’s claim that he was offered bribes to clear related papers. A Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) team visited Malik’s Som Vihar residence in the R K Puram suburb of the nation’s capital at around 11.45 am to find out whether his accusations were true. Officials claim that the exercise, which lasted for about five hours, consisted of questions about the claims he made in the statements he gave to the CBI last year.
In the previous seven months, the CBI has questioned Malik twice, a former governor of numerous states. Officials made it clear that Malik is not a defendant or suspect in the investigation at this time, though. In October of last year, after he had left his positions as governor of Meghalaya, Goa, Jammu and Kashmir, and Bihar, he made this statement. Malik tweeted in response to the most recent CBI notification asking him to clarify, “I have exposed the sins of some people by speaking the truth.” Maybe that’s why they called me in the first place. I won’t panic because I’m a farmer’s son. I uphold the truth.
The CBI filed two FIRs in connection with Malik’s allegations of corruption regarding the distribution of contracts for civil work totaling Rs 2,200 crore related to the Kiru hydroelectric power as well as a group health insurance policy for public employees and a project in Jammu and Kashmir. Malik claimed that he received a Rs 300 crore payment from shutting two files between August 23, 2018, and October 30, 2019, while serving as the governor of Jammu and Kashmir. Reliance General Insurance and Trinity Re-Insurance Brokers Limited have been named as defendants in the agency’s FIR over the medical insurance programme for Jammu and Kashmir government employees, which was reportedly approved by Malik during a meeting of the state executive council on August 31, 2018.The plan was subsequently abandoned.According to one of the FIRs, unidentified employees of the finance department of the government of Jammu and Kashmir engaged in a conspiracy and criminal misconduct with Trinity Reinsurance Brokers Limited, Reliance General Insurance Company Limited, and other unidentified employees of the public and private sector.They allegedly defrauded the government of Jammu and Kashmir by causing “pecuniary advantage to themselves and wrongful loss to the state exchequer during the period 2017 and 2018”. The CBI claimed that the e-tendering criteria were not followed in the second FIR regarding suspected irregularities in the awarding of contracts for the civil work package of the Kiru hydroelectric power project. They are accused of defrauding the government of Jammu and Kashmir by causing “wrongful loss to the state exchequer during the period 2017 and 2018” and “pecuniary advantage to themselves.” The second FIR addressing alleged anomalies in the allocation of contracts for the civil work package of the Kiru hydroelectric power project, according to the CBI, did not follow the e-tendering requirements. “The case was registered on allegations of malpractices in the awarding of the contract worth Rs 2,200 crore (approximately) of civil works of the Kiru Hydro Electric Power Project (HEP) to a private company in the year 2019,” it has stated. The investigation agency has charged former Chenab Valley Power Projects (Private) Limited chairman Navin Kumar Chaudhary, former managing director M. S. Babu, former directors M. K. Mittal and Arun Kumar Mishra, and Patel Engineering Limited.
In spite of a decision to re-tender using an electronic process with a reverse auction following the cancellation of the current tendering process being made at the 47th board meeting of CVPPL (Chenab Valley Power Projects Limited), it was alleged in the FIR that this was not done (as per the decision made at the 48th board meeting) and the contract was ultimately awarded to Patel Engineering Limited.