‘Rs 7 crore was arranged to be paid to Satyendra Jain for waiving off the penalty of Rs 16 crore imposed on BEL’.


NEW DELHI: On 4 September 2019, an internal inquiry proceeding involving officials of Bharat Electronic Limited (BEL) was being held in Sahibabad-based BEL guest house. The said proceedings were being done against three officials of BEL—Man Mohan Pandey, R.K. Goyal, and Sumit Krishna—who prepared an inquiry report, which had brought into the open the alleged scam that took place while awarding the contract to build the sensitive Integrated Air Command and Control System (IACCS) sites and indicted top officials of BEL for colluding with private companies. The CBI last month filed an FIR in this alleged scam.
After these three officials submitted the damning report, they were first suspended by BEL in May 2019 after which theinquiry proceedings were started which went on till September 2020 when the three were ultimately terminated from their jobs.The BEL had appointed the then Deputy General Manager, Human Resources D.K. Singhla and Jeetendra Singh who was the then Assistant General Manager as its representative in the inquiry committee, while Suresh Katiyal, a General Manager level officer with BEL, who went on a private defence company soon after his retirement, was appointed as the Inquiry Officer.
As per rules, a Minutes of Meeting (MoM) of every such meeting has to be prepared which is then signed by all the three parties; the one against whom the inquiry is being carried out, the representative of the government organization and the enquiry officer. This MoM carries legal sanctity and is considered as a vital part of any such proceedings.
The Sunday Guardian has accessed the minutes of meeting of these proceedings in which one of the representative of the BEL, Jeetendra Singh, told the three officials (Pandey, Goyal and Krishna) that the Delhi government had decided to impose a fine of Rs 16 crore on BEL in August 2019 which was executing the Rs 550 crore CCTV project in Delhi for BEL’s inability to complete the installation of the CCTV on time.
As per the minutes of the meeting, Pandey, while quoting Singh who was questioning the three officers for their stance on tackling corruption, said: “At that time, the PO (Presenting Officer which were Singh and Singhla) told me that he (Singh) has been made the in-charge of the implementation of this project (CCTV installation project) and LD (Late Delivery penalty) was a ploy of one of the cabinet ministers of Delhi government to collect funds for the upcoming election. He said that since BEL cannot give money directly he (Singh) has been tasked with the job to see how the vendors can be paid extra so they can give the money to the Cabinet minister,” the MoM that has been signed by Singhla, Singh, Katiyal and Pandey reads.
The same statement of Singh—of a Delhi minister seeking money to waive of the Late Delivery penalty—was also quoted by Pandey during the inquiry proceedings held on 25 January 2020 which was recorded in the minutes of the meeting and signed by the BEL representatives.
Significantly, when Man Mohan Pandey submitted his reply on 28 August 2020 to the then Chairman and Managing Director of BEL, in response to the finding of the inquiry report, in that letter to he has mentioned about Jeetendra Singh telling him during the proceedings about the Delhi minister asking for money from BEL in view of the Assembly elections. Pandey in the letter also mentioned that he had brought this to the notice of the BEL leadership, but nothing happened.As per media report, Delhi government announced in August 2019 to fine BEL a penalty of Rs 16 crore for delay in installing the CCTVs in Delhi, a project that is worth Rs 571 crore in which 1.4 lakh CCTVs were decided to be installed in the 70 Assembly constituencies of Delhi. The bid for the same was opened in February 2018. Of this Rs 571 crore, Rs 321 crore was for installation, while the Rs 250 crore is for maintenance for 5 years, electricity charges and data charges. The work, as per the government order, was to start on 15 June 2018 and was to be completed by 15 June 2019.
The Public Work Department (PWD) of the Delhi government that was headed by Satyendra Jain was the nodal authority of this project. Manmohan Pandey and Sumit Krishna, while speaking to The Sunday Guardian, confirmed the content of the Minutes of the Meeting and stated that Jeetendra Singh had told them during the inquiry proceedings that he had arrange for Rs7 crore to the paid to the Delhi minister for waiving off the penalty of Rs 16 crore that was imposed on BEL.
The Sunday Guardian’s email to BEL seeking a response on the matter received no response till the time the story went to press. The Sunday Guardian also reached out to the office of Manish Sisodia, the minister in-charge of PWD, for a response, but none was received.