KOCHI: The CBI on Friday submitted before the Kerala High Court that the awarding of work to Reliance Communications Infrastructure Limited for operating the State Data Centre (SDC) and three network operating centres by the LDF government was genuine. The CBI in a report filed before the court stated that the preliminary inquiry conducted by it had revealed that the awarding of the tender was genuine and was without malafide.
“The tendering procedure was transparent and genuine. All the evidence pointed to a fair process. The inquiry did not substantiate the allegations that tenders were awarded by diluting the eligibility criteria,” the investigation agency stated in the report. The CBI has also submitted that the allegation that lobbyist T G Nandakumar had amassed huge wealth had not been proved for want of evidence.
The then Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan and four others - former director of the Kerala State IT Mission Retan Khelkar, former IT Secretary Ajay Kumar, T G Nandakumar, and Mohan Sukumar - had faced allegations in connection with awarding of the tender. It was alleged that the awarding of the contract for the operation of the State Data Centre (SDC) was against the government norms.
Government Chief Whip P C George had sought a CBI probe into the allegations. Subsequently, the government ordered a CBI probe into the allegations.
The CBI said that the inquiry revealed that the SDCs of various state governments were operated and maintained by private IT companies such as TCS and Wipro. “No evidence could be gathered to prove that the decision was taken against the already existing government norms,” the CBI submitted.
The CBI examined the Chief Whip. According to the Chief Whip, awarding of the contract was against government norms. The decision to hand over the management of the SDC to Reliance was taken by Mr Achuthanandan, before the change of the government. He had alleged that as the data centre kept detailed information about all the government offices and officials handing it over to a private company posed a big security risk.
Setback for Chandy, says VS
T’Puram: Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan has said that the CBI’s act of exonerating him from the Data Centre case is a severe setback to the Oommen Chandy Government which has been trying to persecute him for fighting against the wrong policies of the UDF Government. In a statement issued here on Friday, VS said that the Government’s effort to malign him had been exposed. He alleged that he was targeted by fabricating a corruption case as he was pursuing several corruption cases involving the Chief Minister and those in the government. He said there were efforts to malign him by fabricating him in the land gift case. In this case also the court has acquitted him, he said, adding that government cannot stop him from pursuing graft cases by countering him with bogus cases.