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J&K officers received clean chit in insurance fraud days after ex-LG Murmu resigned

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Jammu, Dec 16, 2020-
Days after Lieutenant Governor G.C. Murmu’s resignation, the bureaucracy in Jammu and Kashmir succeeded in getting a clean-chit for the officers involved in an alleged insurance scam.

Official sources told that a tender granted to a prominent insurance company before Murmu took over the reins of the state last year had been a subject of controversy in Jammu and Kashmir. Former Governor Satyapal Malik had scrapped the tender after raising serious objections over the allotment and disbursement of money to the insurance company.

LG Murmu, in agreement with his predecessor, also objected over the manner in which a committee of secretaries headed by a very senior officer, who claims to be a close-confidante of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, had granted the tender.

The notice inviting tender (NIT) issued for insurance of the employees tender had several stipulations. One such stipulation was obtaining bank guarantee from the successful bidder. The basic purpose of this condition was to recover any payment of premium made to the successful bidder in the event of cancelation.

The committee of secretaries while awarding the tender, sources said, allegedly allowed the acceptance of bid without the mandatory bank guarantee. Ex-LG Murmu had specifically directed the Anti-Corruption Bureau of J&K to investigate the reasons of waiving the bank guarantee and to identify the persons who permitted the deviation.

One of the prime concerns of Murmu, sources said, was the timing of cancelation and the reasons behind continuation of the contract beyond the first month. He had specifically questioned the reasons as to why advance payment made to the insurance company was allowed to be retained by the firm.

Sources said that Murmu had sought a detailed investigation into the case. Murmu’s advisor, sources said, had observed that there were certain amendments to the contract with different parties and at different stages. There were also changes made to the payment terms after opening of the bid. The observation also suggested assessing the impact on the outcome of the entire bidding process due to changes and amendments made after opening of the bid.

Murmu’s office had questioned the integrity of the process as per the laid down norms and violations of CVC and IRDA guidelines.

Sources said after Murmu resigned on August 5, 2020, the bureaucracy in J&K instead of addressing the objections of the former Governor and the ex-LG, stalled the enquiry into the case and gave a clean-chit to the insurance company.

During his tenure, Murmu had also questioned the allotment of a power project which was bid through a manual process. This bidding was in clear violation of the central government guidelines. At least two officers were shunted out after they openly disagreed with the decision of allotment, sources said.

We sought comments on the alleged scam from J&K Chief Secretary B.V.R. Subrahmanyam and J&K Police DGP Dilbagh Singh, but did not receive any response from either of them. (Agency)

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