(Eds: adding word in 1st para) Amaravati, July 11 (PTI): The Andhra Pradesh government on Sunday decided to entrust to its Crime Investigation Department, the investigation into the alleged irregularities in AP State FiberNet Limited as the Central Bureau of Investigation is seemingly reluctant to proceed with it.
In June last year, the state Cabinet decided to entrust the probe to the CBI and a confidential order was issued on July 13, according consent to the national agency to exercise powers and jurisdiction 'for taking up regular investigation and follow up action pertaining to the scam in APSFL.' Subsequently, letters were written to the Centre and Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy personally took up the issue with Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
Energy Secretary Srikant Nagulapalli issued a formal order on Sunday, directing the Additional Director General of CID to investigate the irregularities and submit a detailed report to the government.
On June 11, 2020, the state Cabinet decided to order a probe by the CBI, based on the preliminary inquiry by a Cabinet Sub-Committee, into various 'financial scandals' committed by the previous Chandrababu Naidu regime in different schemes, causing a loss running into hundreds of crores of rupees.
The Centre initially provided a financial assistance of Rs 3,840 crore for the FiberNet project under the National Optic Fibre Network.
In the project, which was meant to provide Internet and telephone services to all households, costs were inflated by at least Rs 700 crore, the Cabinet Sub-Committee, headed by Finance Minister Buggana Rajendranath found out.
Besides, a person with fake certificates was allegedly appointed as head of the project.
Also, inferior quality Set Top Boxes were purchased from different companies, sidestepping the lowest bidder (a South Korean firm) that came forward to supply high-end STBs at a lower price, it said.
'This alone cost hundreds of crores of Rupees to the exchequer while the project remained unaccomplished,' the Cabinet Sub-Committee pointed out.
It said that various lapses and favoritism were exhibited by the concerned in awarding contracts to the ineligible and in favour of the contractor who was not the lowest bidder.
'Tender conditions were relaxed to facilitate the award of work to Tera Software Ltd.,though the Central Public Sector Enterprise, Telecommunication Consultants India, emerged as the lowest bidder.
It was not considered for 'Project Monitoring Authority' on inadequate grounds even though the firm quoted a lesser price, but instead APSFL chose to call for fresh bids.
'Non-selection of TCIL was due to the fear that the Central PSE would expose the compromised tender conditions to favour Tera Software Ltd.
Hence the decision to seek a CBI inquiry to unearth the massive irregularities,' the state had then said, while seeking the Central agencys probe.
As a year was lost, with the CBI seemingly reluctant to take up the investigation, the state government finally decided to go ahead with the task on its own. PTI DBV APR ADMINISTRATOR ADMINISTRATOR APR ADMINISTRATOR ADMINISTRATOR