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CBI Files 3 Cases Against CSIR-NEERI Officials And Private Firms Over Corruption Allegations In Tendering And Procurement

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered three separate cases on the allegations of criminal conspiracy and corruption based on a complaint received from CVO, CSIR, New Delhi against 10 accused including 5 public servants namely then Director; then Senior Scientist & Head, Director’s Research Cell; then Principal Scientist, then Senior Principal Scientist, then Scientist Fellow of Delhi Zonal Centre & later Senior Scientist, all of CSIR NEERI, Nagpur and private firms, based at Navi Mumbai, Thane, Prabhadevi and one more private firm.

Searches were conducted on Wednesday at around 17 locations in Maharashtra, Haryana, Bihar and Delhi resulting in recovery of incriminating documents, property related documents and jewellery etc.

The first case has been registered against Dr Rakesh Kumar, the then Director, CSIR- NEERI, Nagpur, Dr. Atya Kapley, the then Senior Scientist & Head, Director’s Research Cell, CSIR-NEERI, Nagpur, M/s Alaknanda Technologies Pvt Ltd., Navi Mumbai, M/s Enviro Policy Research India Pvt Ltd., Thane and M/s Emergy Enviro Pvt Ltd., Powai.

"It has been alleged that accused public servants entered criminal conspiracy with accused private companies allowing cartelization & collusive bidding, splitting of tenders/works, not obtaining financial concurrence of competent authority, in lieu of undue advantage. All the three accused private companies participated in tenders issued by CSIR-NEERI and said Navi Mumbai based private firm was awarded work in most of the tenders. It has been further alleged that one of the Directors of the accused Navi Mumbai based private firm is wife of a contractual staff who has been a long standing associate of said Director, CSIR-NEERI, Nagpur," said a CBI official.

"In the second case has been registered against Dr Rakesh Kumar, the then Director, CSIR- NEERI, Dr Ritesh Vijay, the then Principal Scientist, CSIR-NEERI, M/s Waste to Energy Research & Technology Council-India (WTERT- India.) Prabhadevi on the allegations that the accused public servants in criminal conspiracy with said accused private firm abused their official positions for obtaining undue advantage for the said accused private firm during the period 2018-2019. It has also been alleged that during the year 2018-19, a joint proposal of CSIR- NEERI and the accused private firm for submission to Thane Municipal Corporation for providing advisory service for closure of dumping site at Diva-Khardi at a cost of Rs.19.75 lakhs was approved by the said Director alongwith accused then Principal Scientist. The selection of the accused private firm was allegedly done arbitrarily on nomination basis, without consultation of Financial Advisor, CSIR. It has been further alleged that before assuming charge of Director of CSIR-NEERI, the said accused was associated with the accused private firm during the year 2015-16 and was Member of its Organizing Committee and a Trustee," the official said.

The third FIR has been registered against Dr. Sunil Gulia, the then Scientist Fellow of Delhi Zonal Centre, NEERI and later Sr. Scientist, CSIR-NEERI, Nagpur, Dr. Sanjeev Kumar Goyal, the then Senior Principal Scientist, CSIR-NEERI, M/s. ESS Environment Consultants Private Limited (EECPL) and M/s. Alaknanda Technologies Private Limited (ATPL).

"It has been alleged that both the public servants in criminal conspiracy with said accused private companies abused their official position for obtaining undue advantage from these private companies and committed gross irregularities in procurement, fabrication, supply, installation and commissioning of WAYU-II devices. It has also been alleged that WAYU-II, a patented & proprietary property of NEERI, was exclusively licensed to another accused firm and each time efforts were made to procure WAYU-II devices from said firm on single bid basis. Further, indent was allegedly raised on single tender basis by inserting restrictive clause of exclusive licensee of NEERI’s own technology without ascertaining the validity of license agreement executed with the said accused firm," the official added.

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"It has also been alleged that the license stood elapsed before the end of the bidding process, and hence the executive licensee clause, which was the basis for single tender, made the bidding process void ab-initio. Moreover, five numbers of WAYU-II devices were allegedly also procured from Navi Mumbai based accused private firm raising questions as how could said Navi Mumbai based private firm manufacture the device, which had been exclusively licensed to another accused firm. Despite NEERI being the proprietor/patent holder, the act of procuring back product of its own technology on single tender basis was allegedly in violation of GFR rules, the official said.

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