CBI files charges against 13 ONGC officials in Rs80-crore scam

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday said it has filed a first information report (FIR) against 13 senior officials of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC) – both serving and retired - for their alleged role in a Rs 80 crore scam.

The officials have been accused of misusing their powers in assigning a contract to a private firm in 2014, according to a PTI report.

According to CBI, the accused had abused their powers in 2014 to illegally give a contract to private company, Deep Industries Limited, for the supply of gas dehyrdation units for its Rajahmundry plant in Andhra Pradesh.

It has been alleged that ONGC Rajahmundry (Andhra Pradesh) awarded the contract to Deep Industries by manipulating the guidelines of ONGC and overlooking the fact that company was ineligible due to technical deficiencies.

The corporation’s former executive director DG Sanyal, former director (onshore operations) Ashok Verma and former director general and manager (production) Arup Ratan Das were named in the First Information Report filed by CBI.

Das allegedly prepared the documents to indicate that Deep Industries Limited was the sole bidder for the contract. He also purportedly made an argument in favour of hiring the gas dehydration units to benefit the private firm. The company then raised the estimated cost further from Rs219 crore to Rs312 crore on false grounds, the CBI alleged.

Das, according to CBI, made working papers for hiring and owning of GDUs at 5 units and prepared the estimates on single quotation as against the requirement of 3 budgetary quotations.

The lone budgetary quotation was from Deep Industries of Rs219 crore for hiring of GDUs for three years. Das prepared a comparison statement between owing and hiring of GDU and showed that hiring would be viable as it would take less time in installation

He made a proposal for administrative approval indicating owning cost of Rs 290 crores and hiring cost of Rs 230 crores. Verma gave an approval for Rs 219 crore even though he was empowered to accord administrative approval for cases only up to Rs 200 crores.

The tender was floated in December 2014 and the lone bidder – Deep Industries, was considered by the Tender Committee.

The accused persons, CBI says, caused a loss of Rs80 crore to ONGC.

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