The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) questioned former Jammu and Kashmir governor Satya Pal Malik for over five hours on Friday in connection with an alleged insurance scam in the union territory. Malik’s assertion that he was given payments to clear relevant papers led to the discovery of the scam. A CBI team visited Malik’s residence in the R K Puram district of the national capital to seek clarity on his assertions. The CBI has questioned Malik for the second time in seven months, and officials have underlined that he is neither an accused nor a suspect in the investigation so far.
Malik had tweeted after receiving the notice from the CBI that he had exposed the sins of some people by speaking the truth, and he stood by it. The CBI has filed two FIRs in connection with Malik’s claims of corruption in bidding for a group medical insurance program for government employees and civil work worth Rs 2,200 crore for the Kiru hydroelectric power project in Jammu and Kashmir.
The first FIR is against Reliance General Insurance and Trinity Re-Insurance Brokers Limited, named as defendants in the medical insurance program for Jammu and Kashmir government employees. It was purportedly approved by Malik during a state administrative council meeting on August 31, 2018, but the idea was later abandoned.
The second FIR concerns suspected irregularities in the awarding of contracts for the civil work package of the Kiru hydroelectric power project. The CBI has charged former Chenab Valley Power Projects (Private) Limited chairman Navin Kumar Chaudhary, former managing director M. S. Babu, former directors M. K. Mittal and Arun Kumar Mishra, and Patel Engineering Limited.
The CBI has alleged that the e-tendering procedures were not followed in the second FIR, and it has registered the case on allegations of malpractices in the award of the contract worth Rs 2,200 crore of civil works of the Kiru Hydro Electric Power Project to a private company in 2019. Although a decision was taken in the 47th board meeting of CVPPL (Chenab Valley Power Projects Limited) for re-tender through e-tendering with the reverse auction after the cancellation of the ongoing tendering process, the same was not implemented (as per the decision taken in the 48th board meeting), and the tender was finally awarded to Patel Engineering Limited.
Malik had claimed that he was given a Rs 300 crore payment to clear two files during his stint as governor of Jammu and Kashmir from August 23, 2018, to October 30, 2019. Officials said the CBI exercise lasted over five hours and included multiple questions concerning the assertions he made in his interviews filed with the CBI last year.