GSPC's millionaire driver promoted to manager

Vol 20, PW 11 (23 Feb 17) People & Policy
     

Not often does an Indian driver on a meager salary become a millionaire.

But not only did former Gujarat energy secretary DJ Pandian's driver Bharatgiri Babugiri Goswami manage that somehow but he was also astonishingly made project manager at the 590-MW Charanka solar park. Gujarat chief secretary and GSPC managing director JN Singh will have a hard time explaining how this happened to Gujarat High Court chief justice R.

Subhash Reddy and justice Vipul Pancholi. On February 15 the justices sent notices to Singh, Gujarat Power Corporation managing director Sujit Gulati and 13 other respondents giving them two weeks to provide clarifications on Goswami's strange case.

These notices were issued after social worker Farsubhai Gokalani filed an affidavit on February 15 following up on a public interest litigation filed on December 29, 2016 alleging corruption during the award of contracts for the Rs4500cr ($676m) Charanka park. Gokalani alleges that GSPC driver Goswami was sent to the Gujarat Power Corporation solar park on May 6, 2011 as project manager.

Soon after, Goswami bought three patches of land at Pethapur village near Gandhinagar: one 12,141-sq metre plot for Rs48 lakhs ($71,577), another 17,009-sq metre plot for Rs63 lakhs ($93,945) and finally a 6677-sq metre plot for Rs90.15 lakhs ($134,431). Goswami was DJ Pandian's driver when he was GSPC managing director from 2001 to 2009.

Pandian as energy secretary was the Gujarat Power Corporation chairman and managing director when Goswami was appointed at Charanka.