Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
ORISSA MATTERS, on April 7, 2016, had focused on a scam on the anvil involving central government undertaking MCL and Bhubaneswar Development Authority. Post-exposure shenanigans suggest that the scam would be a stupendous instance of how corruption wins.
The Civil and Finance department of the MCL has released the payment to their contractor against an unauthorized and illegal construction in Bhubaneswar, which, under the rules, the BDA is required to demolish. Therefore, fellows, who were marked chasing the concerned file in the Secretariat, are seen twanging around the BDA Secretary and the Minister concerned.
Let us look a little at what has happened.
MCL obtained lease of a huge patch of land comprising 30 acres at Tamando, Bhubaneswar from the Revenue department of Orissa Government for the specific purpose of building its Office and has used the same land for a different purpose styled ‘Mahanadi Institute of Natural Research & Energy Management’(MINREM), which tantamount to sub-leasing a leased property.
This is so glaringly illegal that, the audit wing of MCL has repeatedly questioned it. Audit has underlined that MINREM “is altogether a separate entity as society, though promoted by MCL” and and has queried as to “whether MCL is allowed by concerned department of Revenue to sublease the land to MINREM”. But MCL is failing to answer the query.
This makes it clear that the multi-crore worth housing complex of MINREM has been built in blatant contravention of law and authority.
Records reveal that, for this construction, MCL had signed MOU with another central government contractor: NBCC, wherein “it was specifically mentioned that, it is the responsibilities of NBCC to obtain approval for construction etc.”, but the same contractor NBCC has already received payment for the construction without the necessary plan approval and permission from BDA.
When MINREM “is altogether a separate entity as society” how could MLC sign the MOU with NBCC for its building is a conundrum. If MINREM is a separate entity, it should have obtained the lease from the government and then could have signed the MOU with NBCC. But, keeping MINREM in dark, the MCL has signed the MOU and given the work order to NBCC by jumbling up the accounts of MINREM. Under such vicious could of illegality, sans any authority or approval, NBCC has been order to work and has been paid for the work in blatant contravention of every norm.
For this illegal transaction, a particular officer of MCA, Dy. General Manager Abani Kanta Samantray is zeroed in by the vigilance wing of the organization and has been served with notice to reveal whether or not he has booked any Flat/House in NBCC or any other project either in his own name or in the name of any dependent including his spouse. And, if so, to say, “Whether the total numbers of such properties so booked/acquired have been declared in the Annual Property Return furnished to the Company”. Marked “top most priority”, in letter No. 762 dated 21.4.2016, the MCL notice has made it clear to Samantray, “The total number of such properties and their individual valuation need to be communicated to the Vigilance Secretariat”.
Possibly, Samantray has property link with NBCC in the name of his wife. Because, on 26.4.2016 the Dy. GM (Vig) / TS to CVC has asked him in notice number 786 to inform on “top most priority” basis “The total cost of the house property being acquired in the name of his wife in NBCC project”.
NBCC, a Government of India Navratna Enterprise under the Ministry of Urban Development, is listed with the Stock Exchanges, where, private profiteers operate under the public sector mask.
Posing as the government of India Navaratna Enterprise, it fetches work orders from Government Department(s)/ PSUs and Autonomous Bodies sans competition and executes the same through shadow operators, generating in the process many tricks of corruption which the shadow operators use for their profit.
The design is so cunningly developed, that, it “has been notified as a Public Works Organization (PWO) explicitly, a construction agency covered under revised Rule 126 (2) of GFRs, as per which Government Department(s)/ PSUs and Autonomous Bodies can award the works to NBCC on nomination basis”.
Using this trick, NBCC has obtained the multi-crore worth work order from MCL “on single nomination basis” and has “given the works to private companies”, which might have never got the work order on their own merit.
The Auditor says, this could have been “done directly by MCL” and huge sums of money could have been saved. On the other hand, high standard work, expected of the Navaratna Enterprise NBCC could have been obtained, for which only, the work was allotted to it “on single nomination basis”.
But, it seems, the MCL is saturated with fellows like Samantray whose conduct is being weighed by the vigilance on the matrix of Flat/House booked/acquired by him and/or his wife as the vigilance queries noted supra suggest.
It has become such a sanctuary of corrupt elements that its Board of Management has felt no qualms to dance to the tune of NBCC, the mask of shadow operators.
In the instant case, the Auditor notes, “LoA has been awarded to NBCC on single nomination basis and it has been approved in the 144th Board meeting” whereas “as per the Single Nomination definition laid by SC and CVC, it should be applicable only under exceptional circumstances such as emergency or natural calamity or after repetitive flouting of tender no bidders show interest or there is only one organization with license of product/proprietary item. Construction of MINREM doesn’t comply any of the above conditions and also not in the line of CIL letter and there is no such urgency”.
Pleading of MCL in support of its work order to NBCC is much murkier and driven by motive to make out a justification for the illegal allocation. NBCC being a PWO, the MCL has tried to justify its order on the basis of GFR 2005. The auditor has refused to accept the argument.
The audit para notes, “GFR 2005 is applicable to Ministries and Departments. As per GFR Rule 2, definition of ‘Department of Central Government’ means a ministry or a Department of the Central Government as notified from time to time and included the Planning Commission, the Department of Parliamentary Affairs, the President’s Secretariat, the Vice-President’s Secretariat, the Cabinet Secretariat and the Prime Minister’s Secretariat; MCL is a Corporate Body in which Central Government has share holding. It is not a Department or Ministry. ……. So the above justification for awarding tender (to NBCC) is not reasonable”.
When, thus, the allocation of work order to NBCC for construction of MINREM is inappropriate and illegal, the purpose of allocation is also defeated, as NBCC has not executed the work order by itself, but has done the work through private contractors who could never have qualified to get the order by participating in the bids.
But the most intriguing aspect of the MCL project at Bhubaneswar is that the building complex of MINREM has been completed and the contractor NBCC has been paid for the work without even submission of its plan to and approval thereof by the BDA.
In letter No. 160 dated 27.4.2016, much after the exposure of the scam in ORISSA MATTERS, the MCL has written to the contractor NBCC to “submit the plan” in respect of MINREM and “to include Guard Barrack and Club House in the plan so that approval of the plan with inclusion of the said infrastructure can be obtained and the work can be taken up”. Two days thereafter, on 29.4.2016, in letter No. 175 the MCL has requested the Planning Member of BDA “to kindly arrange to process the case for approval of the building plans for the subject works” whereas the subject is captioned, “Approval of Plan for construction of Mahanadi Institute of Coal Management Building (MINREM) over Revenue Plot No. 735(P) and 405 (P) under Khata No. P298 of Mz: Bijipur”.
But the construction, as the above picture shows, is over and payment against the same has already been received by NBCC, the mask of shadow operators.
The entire matter is so very full of intriguing shenanigans and clandestine tricks that how shabbily the central government is functioning can be viewed for a case study.
However, under the BDA rules the entire structure should be demolished. If the BDA acts as per the rules, the irresponsible officials of MCL will have to be taken to task. The only escape root lies in gaining over the BDA officials and the minister concerned, who, if they so agree, may give post facto approval, though it would be a stupendous instance of how corruption wins.