CWG Street Light Scam: Framing of Charges on Mar 1
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Holding that it has prima facie evidence to put seven persons, including four MCD officials to on trial for their alleged roles in a CWG street-lightning scam case, a Delhi court today fixed March 1 to frame charges against them.

Holding that cases exist against the accused, Special CBI Judge Pradeep Chaddah said, "Let the charges be framed accordingly".

The persons who face the charges in the scam are MCD Superintendent Engineer D K Sugan, Executive Engineer O P Mahala, Accountant Raju V and civic body's tender clerk Gurcharan Singh besides Director J P Singh and Managing Director T P Singh of private firm Sweska Powertech Engineers Pvt Ltd, who were allegedly illegally favoured in the award of street lighting contract.

Another accused Mehul Karnik, an employee of Philips India Pvt Ltd, was, however, discharged from the case.

The CBI had charge-sheeted them under section 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 420 (cheating), forgery under IPC and various provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Earlier, the court had decided to frame charges against them on February 27 but then fixed it for March 1 on a request by counsel for accused persons.

The street lightning scam is one of the ten CWG-related scams being probed by the CBI.

The agency had in its chargesheet alleged that in view of the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, the MCD had decided to upgrade street lightening to international standard.

As per the CBI charge sheet, tenders were invited by the civic agency in 2008 and five companies, including Sweska Powertech applied for it, while the MCD commissioner approved only three companies.

After opening of the tender and announcing of the rates by accused Sugan, certain cuttings and interpolations in the tender papers of Sweska were made and amount quoted by it was increased, said the CBI in its charge sheet adding that this led to a wrongful loss of Rs 1,42,83,000 to the government and corresponding wrongful gain to the accused persons.

Terming MCD Superintending Engineer Sugan, the senior-most official, as the "kingpin" of the conspiracy, the court said tenders were opened in his office on May 14, 2008 and he allowed fudging of Sweska's tender papers.

Accused Gurcharan also neglected his duty to make entries in the register immediately at the opening of the tenders and the announcement of the rates, leaving room for later manipulations.

"Had he noted rates announced by Sugan, it would have become very difficult to change the rates later in the bid document," the court said, adding accused Mahla signed the fudged documents and would not have remained a silent spectator without promise of his share in the booty."

It also said accused Raju, who was to detect over-writings in the tender documents, cleared Sweska's bid.

The court also said Sweska and its promoters T P Singh and J P Singh have been rightly arrayed as accused as tender was submitted by their company and the owner of a private company are the direct beneficiaries of any gain made by it.

It, however, discharged Phillips India officer Mehul Karnik, who the CBI said was present in the same room when the tenders were being opened, as it noted that the company initially participated in the tender process but ultimately did not submit the tender.

"He just simply happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time," the court said.
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