Six AAI officials suspended for helping firms bag projects

* CBI enquiry finds irregularities in ground handling contracts

Written by ENS Economic Bureau | New Delhi | Published: September 18, 2012 2:44 am

The civil aviation ministry has suspended six senior officials of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) after a CBI enquiry found them guilty of irregularities while awarding ground handling projects at various airports. Orders have also been issued to take strict action on this issue,which may include cancelling the ground handling contracts awarded to the companies.

“The CBI enquiry report,which had asked AAI to take action against the officials,came on June 14,2012. Actions were taken by the aviation minister after it came to his notice,” said a senior civil aviation ministry official.

The CBI enquiry,into the award of ground handling projects at Kolkata and Chennai airports,found that AAI officers favoured Bhadra International India Ltd while awarding contracts at airports.

The officers who have been suspended are LL Krishnan,executive director (commercial),RL Saran,DGM (finance),S Basu,additional GM (commercial),Arun Mehan,DGM (operations),PK Chadha,DGM (operations) and Ravi Verma,GM.

“The minister has also ordered filing of the FIR against Prem Bajaj,MD of the suspect company,RV Narayanan,retired ED (commercial),AK Dubey,retired ED (finance),AAI and others for their acts of manipulation,forgery,criminal breach of trust,criminal conspiracy and corruption,” said a ministry’s press release.

Financial bid of Bhadra International India and Novia International consortium was opened and the rate of royalty payable to AAI by the consortium was modified to make it greater than the quotes of two other competing companies.

“The figure of ‘nine and half’ was manipulated to make it ‘nineteen and half’ while evaluating the tender,by adding ‘teen’ below ‘nine and half’ ,” said the release.

The CBI also found irregularities in awarding contract for Trivandrum,Coimbatore,Calicut,Mangalore and Tiruchi. Neither Bhadra International India nor Novia International Consulting had the minimum five years experience in ground handling.

Since Novia International Consulting did not have a minimum annual turnover of Rs 200 crore,the annual financial turnover of entire Novia Group of companies was taken into account by AAI officials.

It was also found that Narayanan,retired ED (commercial) joined Bhadra International India as its vice president after his retirement.

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