PMO had a look at MTNL's CWG tender, cab secy okayed: official

"Purchase order of the tender was issued after committee of secretaries approved it. During the process it was re-examined by DoT on instruction from PMO," a senior MTNL official told PTI on condition of anonymity.

"Committee of secretaries finally approved it after clearance from independent external monitors group. Ex CVC P Shankar, former election commissioner BB Tandon and former telecom commission member (technology) K N Singh were part of IEM," he said. CBI had yesterday registered a case against MTNL officials, including its former CMD R S P Sinha, and Noida- based HCL Infosystems for allegedly inflating the cost of setting up a broadcast network for the Commonwealth Games by nearly Rs 400 crore.

Besides Sinha, the case was registered against Executive Director S M Talwar, GM (Corporate Sales) N K Jain and DGM Jitendra Garg. "During searches conducted so far, documents relating to immovable and movable property belonging to accused persons and other incriminating documents have been recovered," CBI spokesperson Dharini Mishra had said yesterday.

"MTNL in their proposal included Broadcast Video Network based on IP MPLS technology that grossly enhanced the network costing Rs 380.04 crore, allegedly with an intention to cause huge pecuniary advantage to the contracting firms," she said.

However, MTNL official denied having given final estimate for the project and said that the CBI was comparing the Commonwealth Games project with games project network in Melbourne. "Indian project can not be compared with Melbourne estimate. Australia already had an infrastructure in place. We had to start fresh. There everything was conducted in range of 10 kilometers. Here we had to connect venues, which were at distance of about 70 kms," the official said.

While CBI has only talked about broadcast video network, MTNL was asked to provide connectivity for approximately 2,700 high-definition surveillance cameras and transmission of data related to sports event and details of athletes. To meet the last moment demand, MTNL had to borrow routers from Air Force, which was co-ordinated by then additional secretary Subodh Kumar of Department of Telecommunications.

On single bidding of HCL Infosystem for the tender, the official said other MPLS players namely Alcatel Lucent and Juniper had shown interest but later on they did not participate in the project. HCL Infosystems said in a statement, "The project had detailed technical specifications and involved extremely stringent performance criteria and also had hefty penalties defined in the contract for any underperformance."

The project involved extensive scrutiny by the team of experts from government to ensure impeccable performance. As per the project plan, immediately on completion of the event, the entire equipment has been redeployed in Delhi and Mumbai as per the larger mandate of the agreement, it said.

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