Sunday, March 20, 2016

BHOPAL/JABALPUR: Madhya Pradesh unit of CBI team raided 23 premises across country in connection with Railways electrification scam. Agency registered two separate cases against 21 people and Delhi-based M/s CIPL-Cobra for irregularities. In September last year, CBI initiated the probe into 189-km track between Jabalpur and Satna districts, following allegations that flawed erection of electric poles may trigger rail accidents. Raids were carried out on three premises in Jabalpur, three in Bhopal, three in Itarsi, four in Katni, Chhindwara, Delhi, Haryana, Jaipur, Allahabad, Agra, Mathura and Muzaffarnagar.

In November, CBI lodged a preliminary enquiry (PE) to probe corruption in electrification of the key Itarsi-Allahabad railway route. The 605km Naini-Manikpur-Katni-Itarsi route and 479km Katni-Singrauli-Garwa stretch were identified for electrification under Vision 2020 — a blueprint for railway electrification programme. The project was delayed for several years due to political interference before the contract was given to Delhi-based M/s CIPL-Cobra.

CIPL-Cobra bagged Rs 150-crore contract of Itarsi-Allahabad rail route electrification work from West-Central Railways (WCR) in 2013 for 36 months and work is in progress. CIPL is a multi-national company working with Cobra in India. During a joint surprise check conducted by CBI's Jabalpur unit and WCR's vigilance wing at Maihar and Satna, investigators found poles erected without in loose soil without foundation. "Poles would have collapsed on tracks during heavy rains and trigger accidents," said a senior railway officer.

Senior WCR engineers have been booked for indulging in criminal conspiracy with the company by making false entry in measurement book and releasing payment without testing or checking installation work.

"There are 33 poles in every 1km distance. Most of them have to be re-erected," said the officer. After this was brought to their notice, the company was ready to replace poles that did not meet parameters.

"This offence they have already committed cannot be condoned," said the officer. CBI, however, decided to go ahead with an inquiry claiming it was necessary to bust corruption.

First case was registered against D D Srivastava, executive electrical engineer, railway electrification, Jabalpur, M D Kori, executive electrical engineer, railway electrification, Jabalpur, Manoj Kumar Prabhakar, senior section engineer, railway electrification, Jabalpur, Sanjay Meena, senior section engineer, railway electrification, Jabalpur, and four other officers of RE, Jabalpur as well as M/s Cobra India Private Limited-COBRA-JV. This case was registered for faulty erection of poles between Manikpur-Satna and Satna to Rewa sections.

Similarly, a criminal case has been lodged against DD Srivastava, executive electrical engineer, railway electrification (RE), Jabalpur, K K Khare, senior section engineer, railway electrification, Jabalpur, A K Tiwari, senior section engineer, railway electrification, Jabalpur, and 9 other officers of RE, Jabalpur and M/s Cobra India Private Limited-COBRA.

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