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Alleged BSNL-ZTE Scam: Delhi High Court orders BSNL to initiate departmental action

The Delhi High Court instructed Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) to bring a departmental lawsuit, as proposed by CBI, against its employees for allegedly improper wording of tenders and lack of planning prior to issuing orders for the purchase of GSM mobile phone lines.

The High Court made it clear that it did not express any opinion on the merits of the allegations against BSNL employees, and any action initiated by the telecommunications company must be brought to its logical conclusion on the merits.

The court’s ruling was issued during the consideration of the application alleging that BSNL officials allegedly caused damages in the amount of about Rs. 1,000 crores to the Treasury by unlocking an unauthorized payment by a Chinese firm’s subsidiary through document forgery.

“The Preliminary Investigation (PE) was registered by the CBI under the authority of this court, and the CBI, after the completion of the investigation, submitted status reports to this court. In examining the status reports, this court finds no basis. cancel the status reports filed by the CBI and communicate any further instructions.

“This court, however, directs BSNL to initiate a departmental action against its employees, as suggested by the CBI. It is clearly stated that this court did not express any opinion on the merits of the allegations against BSNL employees. Any action initiated by the BSNL must be brought to its logical conclusion on its merits,” the panel of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad said in a ruling issued on Thursday.

It states that, by order of the High Court in the Latika Kumari case, the CBI was instructed to provide a copy of the closure record to the complainant, summarizing the reasons for closing the complaint and not taking further action.

It granted the applicant the NGO Telecom Watchdog the right to seek legal remedies in accordance with the law.

A petition filed by an NGO, presented through attorney Prashant Bhushan, alleged that BSNL officials condoned M/s ZTE Telecom India Pvt Ltd, a Chinese contractor, and falsified official BSNL records so that “improper payments” of around Rs. The firm can be given 1000 crores.

The CBI, in its latest status report filed with the court in January, said that although the money was received by M/s Trimax IT and Infrastructure Ltd from ZTE, no connection was established that the money they received was used to bribe officials . from BSNL.

However, the status report suggested that a departmental investigation be initiated against a senior BSNL staff member for making changes to the payment stage without discussing site acquisition efforts that resulted in financial loss and technical degradation due to extra work. contract with ZTE at the rate of 2011.

In addition, he suggested that the agency, if deemed necessary, take action against BSNL employees for improper tendering and lack of planning prior to issuing purchase orders.

The petition claimed that in 2011 BSNL issued a bid for the north, south and east zones for 14.37 million turnkey GSM mobile lines, and after a transparent competitive bidding process, ZTE was the winning bidder for all three zones on price. Rs 4,204.85 crore

The lawsuit alleged that in its tender, BSNL had set eight payment milestones, whereby only 50 percent of the payment was payable prior to the delivery stage and the remainder was to be paid in installment and commissioning phases.

“During the project, for unknown reasons, BSNL continued to issue purchase orders without concern for local demand. As a result, a huge amount of ordered material began to accumulate in M/s ZTE stores, for which BSNL has already paid 50 percent of the cost of equipment, including customs duty, according to the terms of the tender.

The statement alleged that some officials of BSNL and ZTE colluded to make improper payments of 95.10% “illegally for all such dismantled equipment.”

He claimed that the official documents were fabricated for an “illegal” payment of 95.10% to ZTE.

“It is clear that the defendant (CBI) is not taking any action on the complaint filed by the complainant for unknown reasons even in such a serious matter where hundreds of crores of rupees were illegally unlocked as a result of a criminal conspiracy between BSNL officials and a Chinese contractor by forging contract documents in the amount of Rs 4,204.85 crores,” the complainant alleged.

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