CBI closes 9-yr-old alleged Russia-NTPC payoffs case

Agency had involved Interpol, frozen London bank account.

Written by Ritu Sarin | New Delhi | Published: May 15, 2014 12:58 am

Days before the UPA government bows out of office, the CBI has closed, for lack of evidence, a nine-year-old case of alleged corruption involving a Russian company and an NTPC project in Bihar.

Russia’s Technoprom Exports was alleged to have paid an Indian agent approximately $ 20 million in kickbacks in a deal to supply boilers for the project in Barh, about 50 km southeast of Patna.

The closure report is understood to have been filed earlier this month. The case had been taken up at the highest diplomatic level.

The case dates back to 2005, when UPA-I was in power. The CBI involved Interpol, which in 2006 informed CBI that money had been deposited in an account held by Ravina Khurana in Natwest Bank in London. Khurana owned the Delhi-based consultancy firm Ravina and Associates Pvt Ltd.

Subsequently, CBI froze the account. Delhi High Court declined to lift the freeze saying the action had been taken with the approval of Indian and Russian authorities.

When contacted, Khurana told The Indian Express that she was not aware of the CBI’s closure report.

There was not much movement in the case once the account had been frozen, and the homes of Khurana and NTPC officials searched. The project in Barh itself ran into problems and was stalled after Technoprom asked for a higher price from NTPC, citing increase in the price of steel.

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