CBI Files Cases Against Ex CSIR-NEERI Director, Scientists

CBI Investigates Corruption in Tendering and Procurement at CSIR-NEERI

FinTech BizNews Service

Mumbai, 10th July 2024: Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered three separate cases against ten individuals, including former officials of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research – National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (CSIR-NEERI), Nagpur, and five private firms, today. The cases were registered based on allegations of criminal conspiracy and corruption in tendering and procurement processes.

The allegations on individuals include five public servants namely the then Director; then Senior Scientist & Head, Director’s Research Cell; then Principal Scientist, then Senior Principal Scientist, then Senior Fellow of Delhi Zonal Centre who later became a Senior Scientist, all of CSIR NEERI, Nagpur.

Searches are currently underway at 17 locations across Maharashtra, Haryana, Bihar, and Delhi, resulting in the seizure of incriminating documents, property records, and jewellery.

Details of Cases:

The first case involves allegations against two former CSIR-NEERI officials and three private firms, including a Navi Mumbai-based firm. It is alleged that the officials conspired with private companies to manipulate bids, circumvent financial oversight, and obtain undue advantages. It includes allowing cartelization & collusive bidding, splitting of tenders/works, not obtaining financial concurrence of competent authority, in lieu of undue advantage. All the three accused private companies participated in tenders issued by CSIR-NEERI and said Navi Mumbai based private firm was awarded work in most of the tenders. It has been further alleged that one of the Directors of the accused Navi Mumbai based private firm is wife of a contractual staff who has been a long standing associate of said Director, CSIR-NEERI, Nagpur.

The second case implicates former CSIR-NEERI officials and a Mumbai-based private firm for abusing their positions to favor the firm in a municipal advisory project without proper consultation or financial oversight. The second case has been registered against public servants including the said then Director and the then Principal Scientist, CSIR-NEERI, Nagpur and a private firm based at Prabhadevi- Mumbai on the allegations that the accused public servants in criminal conspiracy with said accused private firm abused their official positions for obtaining undue advantage for the said accused private firm during the period 2018-2019. It has also been alleged that during the year 2018-19, a joint proposal of CSIR- NEERI and the accused private firm for submission to Thane Municipal Corporation for providing advisory service for closure of dumping site at Diva-Khardi at a cost of Rs.19.75 lakhs was approved by the said Director alongwith accused then Principal Scientist. The selection of the accused private firm was allegedly done arbitrarily on nomination basis, without consultation of Financial Advisor, CSIR. It has been further alleged that before assuming charge of Director of CSIR-NEERI, the said accused was associated with the accused private firm during the year 2015-16 and was Member of its Organizing Committee and a Trustee.

The third FIR has been registered against two public servants and two private firms including the aforesaid Navi Mumbai based private firm and another private firm. The accused public servants include then Scientist Fellow of Delhi Zonal Centre, NEERI & later Sr. Scientist, CSIR-NEERI, Nagpur and the then Senior Principal Scientist, CSIR-NEERI, Nagpur. It has been alleged that both the public servants in criminal conspiracy with said accused private companies abused their official position for obtaining undue advantage from these private companies and committed gross irregularities in procurement, fabrication, supply, installation and commissioning of Wind Augmentation PurifYing Unit (WAYU)-II devices. It has also been alleged that WAYU-II, a patented & proprietary property of NEERI, was exclusively licensed to another accused firm and each time efforts were made to procure WAYU-II devices from said firm on single bid basis. Further, indent was allegedly raised on single tender basis by inserting restrictive clause of exclusive licensee of NEERI’s own technology without ascertaining the validity of license agreement executed with the said accused firm.

It has also been alleged that the license stood elapsed before the end of the bidding process, and hence the executive licensee clause, which was the basis for single tender, made the bidding process void ab-initio. Moreover, five numbers of WAYU-II devices were allegedly also procured from Navi Mumbai based accused private firm raising questions as how could said Navi Mumbai based private firm manufacture the device, which had been exclusively licensed to another accused firm. Despite NEERI being the proprietor/patent holder, the act of procuring back product of its own technology on single tender basis was allegedly in violation of General Financial Rules (GFR).

Investigations into these cases are ongoing.

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