CBI raids ex-J&K governor Malik in hydropower project scam


India, All India

Malik had previously claimed that he was offered a bribe of Rs 300 crore to expedite certain administrative procedures

Media outside Som Vihar where the CBI conducted searches at the premises of former Jammu and Kashmir governor Satya Pal Malik in connection with alleged corruption in the multi-croce Kiru Hydropower project, in New Delhi, Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024. (PTI Photo)

NEW DELHI: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) conducted raids at multiple locations, including the residences of former Jammu and Kashmir governor Satya Pal Malik, as well as 29 other sites as part of an ongoing investigation into alleged irregularities surrounding the awarding of civil contracts for the Rs 2,200-crore Kiru Hydropower project in the region.

The operation, which commenced early on Thursday morning, saw the deployment of approximately 100 officers across 30 locations spanning Jammu, Srinagar, Delhi, Gurugram, Mumbai, Baghpat, Noida, Patna, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Barmer, Nagaur, and Chandigarh.

According to officials familiar with the matter, the raids yielded substantial findings, including evidence of significant cash deposits, investments in fixed deposits, property holdings in various cities, and digital documentation. Notable among the premises searched were those associated with Satya Pal Malik, located in RK Puram, Dwarka, and the Asian Games Village in Delhi, along with properties in Gurugram and Baghpat. Additionally, the CBI's search team targeted premises allegedly linked to Malik's associates, including former chairman of Chenab Valley Power Projects Private Limited Navin Kumar Chaudhary and officials from Patel Engineering Limited.

Responding to the actions taken by the anti-graft agency, Satya Pal Malik, currently hospitalised, expressed defiance, stating, "Despite being unwell for the past 3-4 days and hospitalised, my residence is being raided by authoritarian tactics employing government agencies. My driver and assistant are also being subjected to unnecessary harassment. As the son of a farmer, I refuse to be intimidated by these raids. I stand in solidarity with the farmers," in a post on social media platform X.

The investigation revolves around allegations of corruption related to the awarding of a civil contract linked to the Kiru Hydro Electric Power Project, valued at Rs 2,200 crore. Malik had previously claimed that he was offered a bribe of Rs 300 crore to expedite certain administrative procedures, including one concerning the aforementioned project.

The CBI had earlier stated, "The case was registered on allegations of malpractices in the award of the contract worth approximately Rs 2,200 crore of civil works of the Kiru Hydro Electric Power Project (HEP) to a private company in 2019."

Those implicated in the case include Navin Kumar Chaudhary and former officials of Chenab Valley Power Projects Private Limited, namely M.S. Babu, M.K. Mittal, and Arun Kumar Mishra, along with representatives from Patel Engineering Limited.

The FIR filed by the CBI alleges discrepancies in adhering to board decisions regarding the tendering process for the project, citing a failure to implement a decision for re-tendering via e-tendering with reverse auction following the cancellation of the ongoing tendering process.