CBI raids ex-J&K Governor Satyapal Malik and others over Rs 2,200 crore Kiru hydel project scam

Satyapal malik

New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday conducted raids at 30 locations, including the residence of former Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satyapal Malik in Delhi, in connection with a case of alleged corruption in the awarding of a contract for the Kiru Hydroelectric Project in Jammu and Kashmir. The project, worth Rs 2,200 crore, is being executed by Chenab Valley Power Projects Private Limited (CVPPPL), a joint venture of NHPC, JKSPDC, and PTC India.

The CBI had registered a case in January this year against former chairman of CVPPPL, Naveen Kumar Choudhary, a 1994-batch Jammu-Kashmir-cadre (now AGMUT cadre) Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer, and other former officials of the company, as well as Patel Engineering Ltd, the private firm that won the contract. The agency had alleged that the guidelines regarding e-tendering were not followed and the decision to re-tender the project through reverse auction was reversed in favor of Patel Engineering Ltd.

The case was based on a reference received from the Jammu and Kashmir government, which had sought a CBI probe into the alleged malpractices in the awarding of two government contracts, including the Kiru project. Satyapal Malik, who was the governor of Jammu and Kashmir from August 23, 2018 to October 30, 2019, had claimed that he was offered a bribe of Rs 300 crore by a businessman to clear two files related to the project. He had also said that he had informed the Prime Minister’s Office and the Home Ministry about the bribe offer.

Malik, who is currently the governor of Meghalaya, reacted to the CBI raids on his premises on social media platform X. He wrote in his post, “I have been ill for the last 3-4 days and am admitted in the hospital. Despite this, my house is being raided by the dictator through government agencies. My driver and my assistant are also being raided and harassed unnecessarily. I am a farmer’s son, I will not be afraid of these raids. I am with the farmers.”

Satyapal malik

The CBI had also raided the premises of Sunak Bali, former press secretary of Malik in Jammu and Kashmir, in Delhi last week. Bali is suspected to be involved in the money embezzlement case related to the project. He was searched at his residences in Defence Colony and West End in South Delhi. However, Malik defended his former colleague and said that he was innocent and had no role in the scam.