More corruption at Gujarat solar power project

Vol 20, PW 12 (09 Mar 17) People & Policy

GSPC 'millionaire driver' Bharatgiri Goswami is not the only one implicated in a Rs400cr ($60m) corruption case involving the 590-MW Charanka solar project.

Hearings are scheduled to begin in the Gujarat High Court from March 15 following fresh revelations that at least two senior officials allegedly abused their positions to award contracts and make payments: Gujarat Power Corporation's finance head Mehul Danayak; and the solar park's chief project officer Nayan Choksi. Farsubhai Gokalani, a self-described "social worker and businessman" based in Gujarat's Patan district, is alleging that Danayak went on a property buying spree after becoming financial head of Gujarat Power Corporation, which promotes the Rs4500cr ($674m) solar park.

Gokalani's petition states Danayak had authority to sign cheques and payment orders and was on the tender committee with chief project officer Choksi. After his appointment, Danayak allegedly bought two properties inconsistent with his known income: with his wife he bought 2070-sq foot third floor flat B-301 in the trendy Ratnakar-IV building in Ahmedabad's Vejalpur area for Rs34,70,600 ($52,000) through a sale deed registered on November 7, 2012.

The flat has access to a clubhouse, jogging track, and swimming pool. He also bought flat G-102 in Ahmedabad's Makarba area for Rs1.25cr ($188,000).

Gokalani claims Choksi was involved in awarding Charanka contracts to agencies without tender. In the past Gokalani has questioned why former Gujarat energy secretary DJ Pandian's driver Goswami was made Charanka project manager in May 2011.