Delhi court orders CVC probe against P-LNG chief

Vol 22, PW 24 (19 Sep 19) People & Policy

Petronet-LNG managing Prabhat Singh faces investigation by the anti-corruption Central Vigilance Commission watchdog (CVC) on orders from the Delhi High Court.

In a 46-page judgement on August 20 (2019) Justice Suresh Kumar Kait ruled for Petronet-LNG president (projects) Rajeev Agarwal, who has levelled a series of charges against Singh. "The CVC is directed to inquire into the allegations made by the petitioner (Agarwal) against respondent Number 6 (Prabhat Singh) and take action," reads the directive.

"The brief facts of the case are the petitioner (Agarwal) is the victim of high-handedness of corrupt officers within the company." Central to Agarwal's case is alleged victimisation after he opposed Singh's decision to award a single LNG tank construction contract at DAHEJ to Japanese firm IHI in a tender released on August 3, 2015.

 According to court papers, Agarwal was part of the tender committee that advised against the contract award after IHI emerged as the only technically qualified bidder, quoting Rs640cr ($89m); L&T was disqualified. IHI had earlier built two tanks at DAHEJ for Rs1042cr ($145m) or Rs521cr ($73m) prompting the tender committee's decision to oppose offering a single tank contract to IHI at the $89m higher rate.

Agarwal adds Singh wanted to offer the contract to IHI at Rs537.5cr ($75m) - an offer IHI turned down. Singh then, "got annoyed with Agarwal" and his "2016-17 annual performance report was lowered from outstanding to good and he was transferred to DAHEJ."