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PM refers Shunglu report on B S Lalli to CBI

Source: PTI
February 18, 2011 21:31 IST
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In a quick follow up action, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday referred to Central Bureau of Investigation the Shunglu committee report that had indicted suspended Prasar Bharti chief B S Lalli and Doordarshan Director General Aruna Sharma in the award of broadcasting rights of Commonwealth Games causing Rs 135 crore loss to the exchequer.

Sharma, who belongs to the Madhya Pradesh cadre of the Indian Administrative Services, has also been directed to be reverted back to the state.

The prime minister, who is in Guwahati on Friday, issued directions from there to seek explanations from Lalli and Sharma on the allegations and recommend appropriate action within two weeks.

A fortnight after the first report of the high level committee headed by former Comptroller and Auditor General V K Shunglu pointed to the loss of Rs 135 crore in the award of the contract, a PMO release said the prime minister decided to refer the report to the CBI.

He took the decision after considering the report on the Host Broadcasting Issues related to the Commonwealth Games and the report given by Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrasekhar.

In its report, the committee fixed the responsibility for providing "undue benefit" to Sis Live and Zoom Communications primarily on Lalli and Sharma and said they cannot be recused from the acts of omission and commission which facilitated this wrong doing.

The committee had also said certain actions seem to attract penal provisions under IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act which needs to be separately investigated.

The PMO directed the  Information and Broadcasting Ministry to seek explanations from Lalli and Sharma on the allegations made against them and recommend an appropriate course of action within two weeks.

He also directed the ministry to review the claims made by M/s SIS LIVE, jointly with Prasar Bharati and in consultation with their financial advisers to ensure that there is no over-payment.

"In the event of any over-payment having been made, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has been directed to take appropriate action for recovery, after seeking due legal advice," the release said.

The PM decided to refer matters relating to the relationship between the government and the Prasar Bharati and that between its CEO and its  board  as also issues regarding the governance structure and the oversight mechanism put in place by the ministry in respect of such events, to the Group of Ministers headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

The GoM is being directed to expedite its work so that necessary corrective administrative and legislative measures could be put in place at the earliest, the release said.

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