BHUBANESWAR/JEYPORE: In the midst of a raging political storm over Hindustan Aeronautics Limited’s (HAL) exclusion from the Rafale deal, the defence PSU’s Koraput division was raided by CBI on Saturday in connection with alleged misappropriation of funds by some employees and contractors.
A team of CBI sleuths conducted raids at 12 places in Subaneda including offices of two HAL employees over the last two days. Besides recovering some incriminating document, they interrogated the suspect employees.
According to sources, HAL’s internal audit team and vigilance wing had unearthed the multi-crore scam in the company’s Finance department allegedly committed by its senior manager (Finance), Engine Division, Koraput, Bhaben Maitra about three weeks back. It was found that Maitra had issued cheques worth crores of rupees to several agencies beyond his capacity. Subsequently, the audit team had summoned the senior manager for deposing before it in connection with the matter. But he did not respond and fled.
HAL authorities had earlier lodged a complaint with local police and three contractors, who had received the money through cheques, were apprehended. The police had also launched a search operation to nab Maitra.
Besides Maitra, CBI has registered case against assistant (Finance/Accounts), HAL Engine Division, Koraput, Abinash Kumar Sarkar, job contract labour, Finance department, HAL Engine Division, Koraput, Subhashree Das, other unknown officials of the company and private persons including Jayaram Garada, Bipra Charana Maharana, Jisudan Khosla, Urdhab Khosla and Sadanand Nayak, who are residents of Sunabeda in Koraput, along with some unknown persons.
Sources said HAL authorities had given financial power to the senior manager for issuing cheques to different agencies up to ` one lakh in a month, but he misused his official position by disbursing funds fraudulently for which he came under the scanner of the company’s vigilance wing. Till date, about `18 crore have been misappropriated and more is likely to be detected, the CBI sources said.
“A case has been registered under Sections 120B, 409, 420, 467, 468 and 471 of IPC read with Section 13(1)(a) of Prevention of Corruption Act. Searches were also conducted on the office and residential premises of the accused persons which led to recovery of incriminating document and articles,” a CBI officer said, adding that further investigation into the matter was underway.