Ed Seeks Copy Of ₹800 Cr ‘advance Payment Scam’ Fir From Eow, Legal News, ET LegalWorld – Legal Firms


Bhopal: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has written to Madhya Pradesh Economic Offences Wing (EOW), seeking a copy of the FIR into the alleged Rs 800 crore advance payment ‘scam’ related to the state water works department (WRD). The letter has been sent to the DG EOW, under section 50 of Prevention of Money Laundering Act, to confirm veracity of FIR No 35/2022 registered by the agency under sections of forgery and criminal conspiracy.

The EOW FIR was registered in March after approval from the general administration department (GAD). While investigators feel that the officials named in the FIR caused financial loss to the government, the accused have given a statement that the ‘advance payments’ were made as per the protocol that was in vogue for years in the department and had been followed for every project. Payments were being done in this manner to save the government from incurring additional financial burden owing to inflation, they argued, insisting that this ‘practice’ can be verified by summoning their predecessors and recording their statements.

Insiders say that no direct evidence linking a former chief secretary to the case has been found so far even as investigation continues on various aspects.

This case was handed over to EOW by the state government to ascertain whether advance payments were made to contractors by changing the payment schedule without the government’s approval. The probe ambit was restricted to the role of then engineer-in-chief (EnC), chief engineer (procurement) and a former chief secretary but if the former EnC’s statement is anything to go by, the EOW will have to look back into similar payments in all the water resources department (WRD) projects so far and their political connotations. A departmental inquiry by the WRD after BJP returned to power found that these officers had changed the conditions of the tenders without the government’s permission and on ‘verbal’ directives of the then additional chief secretary.

EOW had registered a preliminary enquiry (PE) against four WRD officers to investigate ‘unauthorised advance payments’ of Rs 877 crore to seven private companies to which tenders worth Rs 3,333 crore were awarded for construction of pressurised pipe canal system.

It was Rewa chief engineer Ganga Kahar, who brought to the notice of the government that the condition mentioned in the payment schedule was relaxed by the order of the MP government GG / 04 / 2019-20, dated May 27, 2019, for the Gond mega project, say sources. As per the official release, no such order has been issued from the government level.

“For this, a copy of the file and order related to the chief engineer and chief engineer (procurement) was obtained. It was found that an order related to annulment of the condition was issued by the chief engineer to all the chief engineers from his level without obtaining government approval,” officials say. Chief engineers of the projects concerned and other field officers also processed payments of materials for the work of canals and pressurized pipes much before the projects started in violation of set norms, they added.


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