CWG broadcast deal under ED scanner

CWG broadcast deal under ED scanner

CWG broadcast deal under ED scanner

Prasar Bharati's Rs 246-crore deal with a UK-based broadcast firm for the coverage of the Commonwealth Games has now come under the scanner of the Enforcement Directorate.

Official sources said the multi-crore deal struck with SIS Live in UK is the latest of the various projects connected with the CWG being scrutinised by the country's premier agency against money laundering and forex violations.

The latest move by the Directorate will bring under scrutiny role of certain top officials of Prasar Bharati, they said.

The ED has already sought information from the Income Tax department, which had carried out a survey at the premises of the local arm of the UK firm.

The deal came under scanner because the public broadcaster entered into a Rs 246-crore agreement with SIS Live for the broadcast of the sporting extravaganza and later, the UK company sub-contracted the same to an Indian firm 'Zoom Communication' for just Rs 177 crore.

Sources said the I-T department had first raised the red flag over the deal following scrutiny of sub-contract papers. The ED is in the process of issuing summons in connection with the case under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA).

President Pratibha Patil had late last year ordered suspension of Prasar Bharti's controversial CEO B S Lalli.

Lalli, who assumed the post in December 2006, was indicted by the Central Vigilance Commission which accused him of breach of Parliamentary privilege, giving undue favours to some broadcast companies and financial mismanagement.

The two-member Committee headed by former Comptroller and Auditor General V K Shunglu, which went into alleged financial irregularities in the CWG, has strongly indicted suspended Lalli and Doordarshan Director General Aruna Sharma, accusing them of "collusion" with the UK-based firm which benefited Rs 135 crore in the broadcast deal.

The Committee said that based on documents available, it has concluded that the actual cost of the contract awarded to SIS Live was at best about Rs 111 crore, thus resulting in a profit of at least Rs 135 crore for the UK-based company and Zoom Communications.