Court orders fresh CBI probe into defence purchase

March 27th, 2008 - 10:46 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, March 27 (IANS) A city court Thursday ordered the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to begin a fresh probe against two defence ministry officials and a private firm allegedly involved in irregularities in the purchase of cooling systems for T-72 tanks. The CBI had filed a closure report in the court, stating that the case had no merit.

“The closure report is rejected. Further investigation be carried out,” Additional Sessions Judge I.K. Kochar said on the CBI’s plea that a key accused, M.K. Ghosh, then joint director (cost) in the ministry, had died.

“There is no doubt M.K. Ghosh has expired, but this by itself is not sufficient to absolve the other accused,” the court said in its order and asked the agency to probe the case afresh.

Earlier, the CBI had sought prosecution of Ghosh, A.K. Agarwal, then purchase officer in the ministry, and some officials of Coimbatore-based Universal Radiators Ltd (URL), alleging that they caused a loss of Rs.38.5 million to the government in the purchase of nearly 180 cooling systems for T-72 tanks during 1995-2000 period.

Previously, all accused were booked under various provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act and of the Indian Penal Code for cheating and forgery.

Slamming the CBI for its bid to close the case, the court said: “The entire closure report talks of non-culpability of M.K. Ghosh but no evidence has been disclosed for exoneration of co-accused, namely A.K. Agarwal, former purchase officer of URL, and Kapadia, director of Kapadia Exports.”

During 1995-2000, the Department of Defence Production and Supplies had invited limited tenders for supply of cooling systems for the tanks, the CBI said.

URL emerged as the lowest bidder and was asked to supply the cooling systems and flattened copper alloy tubes to the army, the CBI said.

After the lapse of around eight years, the CBI filed the closure report in the court saying that the key accused was dead and nothing incriminating had been found against the other co-accused.

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