The Bharat Coking Coal Limited (BCCL) management on Tuesday suspended three senior officials over alleged excess payments of Rs 123 crore to contractors and anomalies in bills amounting to Rs 35 lakh at the coal major’s office in Kustore, Dhanbad.
Two separate probes — by the income tax department and the CBI — are on into the financial bunglings that have taken place over the last two years, involving as many as 15 BCCL officials.
In addition to these investigations, the BCCL is also conducting its own inquiry.
Tuesday’s action against GM (project and planning) P.P. Gupta, area finance manager of Bastacola P.K. Singh and area finance manager of Kusunda U.K. Kandhwe, was taken by BCCL CMD T.K. Lahiry, on the recommendation of chief vigilance officer (CVO) of the company P.K. Sinha.
Sinha also sought the nod of chief vigilance commissioner of India Pradeep Kumar for framing charges against the 15 BCCL officials.
BCCL sources explained how the fraud panned out in the PSU’s accounts. Under capital funds, an expense of Rs 45 crore was shown against a sanctioned budget of only Rs 4 crore during financial year 2009-2010.
Similarly, against a sanctioned fund of Rs 10 crore, Rs 92 crore was spent during 2010-11.
Singh was posted as area finance manager in Kustore Colliery during the period the anomalies occurred, while Kandhwe was in Kusunda during the same period.
Speaking to The Telegraph, Sinha said the three were suspended as they were directly involved in the excess payments against a sanctioned budget in Kustore colliery between 2009 and 2011.
“The concerned officers could have controlled the excess outflow that took place as payment made to contractors,” said Sinha, adding that they also kept the senior management in the dark.
“Though work has been done in some cases by the contractors between 2009 to 2011, excess payments were also made to favoured contractors by officers,” he added.
The others against whom charges are likely to be framed are former area managers A.B.S. Satkarmi and B.C. Mandal, former senior finance manager D.K. Ghosh, former project officer P.K. Chaudhary, former managers A.K. Sinha and Om Prakash, colliery engineers R.K. Chakraborty, D.P. Banerjee and B. Mishra, finance officer A.K. Singh and purchase officer Prabhakar Kumar.
Sinha’s recommendations followed investigations, which began on December 29, 2011, after a joint surprise check with the CBI in Kustore.
CBI and BCCL vigilance officials had then seized several documents pertaining to excess payments to contractors, including one Shatrughna Singh and his younger brother Lal Babu Singh.
What followed was a series of raids on the homes of 15 individuals, including BCCL officers and contractors on February 24.