The vigilance department of the Shipping Ministry,which started a probe into a multi-crore scam in Kolkata Port Trust in June 2009,has filed a chargesheet against some senior port officials.
The department is also probing the role of former KoPT chairman A K Chanda in connection with the scam. Chanda,who left the post of KoPT chairmanship in June 24,2009,is currently the principal secretary (micro industry).
Among others,the chargesheet has been filed against Container Terminal Manager Ratan Ganguli,Legal Adviser of KoPT Nupur Sarkar and OSD to KoPT Chairman Asim Mukhyopadhya.
The scam dates back to 2004 when the KoPT had issued a tender for operation and maintenance of two mobile harbour cranes at berth 4 and 8 of Netaji Subhas Dock. Despite being the lowest bidder,the port trust awarded the contract to ABG Infralogistics Pvt Ltd.
Moreover,the KoPT under the chairmanship of Chanda paid Rs 10 crore to the ABG Infralogistics Pvt Ltd when the latter was supposed to pay that amount to the government as service tax.
I had heard that there had been violation of certain tender norms and I had requested the vigilance department to look into the matter. I have been told that they are taking a strong action against the officers. The role of Chanda is also being probed as he was definitely involved in it, said Suvendu Adhikary,the local MP.
On February 11,the vigilance department had sent a letter to current KoPT Chairman A Majumdar asking the port authorities to transfer all relevant documents connected with the case to it.
While Majumdar denied any knowledge about the ongoing vigilance inquiry,Union Minister of State for Shipping Mukul Roy admitted that a probe is on at moment.
I cannot say if a chargesheet has been filed. All I am aware of is that there were certain discrepancies regarding a tender which was floated and an inquiry has been lodged to probe it, Roy said.
He,however,refused to comment on the involvement of the former chairman in the matter.
Sources said,the ministry has also asked the port authorities to cancel the contract given to the same firm for operating two berths of the Haldia dock. But Majumdar denied it saying,There has been no proposal for the cancellation of the contract that was awarded to ABG Infralogistics Pvt Ltd.
The firm was awarded the tender for operating berths 2 and 8 at Haldia on April 29,2009. The KoPT,which has the authority to cancel the contract if the firm fails to start work within 90 days,it didnt do so in connection with the ABG Infralogistics Pvt Ltd even as the company is yet to begin its operation at the dock.