GAIL employee faces CBI charge

Vol 25, PW 26 (01 Dec 22) News in Brief

After ES Ranganathan, another GAIL employee is facing corruption charges.

On November 23 (2022), the CBI filed an FIR against GAIL deputy general manager Bijay Kumar Mahalik. In the FIR, the CBI alleges that Mahalik falsely certified work experience that was never done by the Mumbai-based pipeline maintenance contractor Maruti Infratech.

The FIR alleges that Mahalik awarded a contract worth Rs3.83cr ($469,319) relating to the Right of User (RoU) maintenance work for the Maharashtra region pipeline to Maruti Infratech on January 27 (2018) based on a fake experience certificate. Three companies participated in the tender issued on December 7 (2017): Maruti Infratech, Sanmarg Projects and Sopan O&M.

"While bidding for this tender," reads the FIR, "Maruti Infratech used two fake work completion certificates to comply with the tender criteria." These two certificates were issued by Mahalik, alleges the FIR, to Maruti in March (2014) and September (2014), but they did not mention experience in sleeve welding.

On October 1 (2014), the CBI alleges Mahalik issued another set of certificates to Maruti, including sleeve welding experience. With those certificates, Maruti managed to qualify in the 2017 tender.

Citing information from a 'reliable source', the CBI says Mahalik abused his position by issuing fake certificates and providing undue favours to Maruti Infratech, cheating GAIL. This is the second time this year (2022) that a GAIL official is under CBI investigation.

In January (2022), then GAIL director marketing ES Ranganathan was arrested on graft allegations. Ranganathan was released from Tihar jail in March (2022) and returned to GAIL in August 2022 as a lower-rank executive director.