CWG broadcast deal under ED scanner

Posted By: Pti
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New Delhi, Feb 13 (PTI) Prasar Bharati''s Rs 246-croredeal with a UK-based broadcast firm for the coverage of theCommonwealth Games has now come under the scanner of theEnforcement Directorate.

Official sources said the multi-crore deal struck withSIS Live in UK is the latest of the various projects connectedwith the CWG being scrutinised by the country''s premier agencyagainst money laundering and forex violations.

The latest move by the Directorate will bring underscrutiny role of certain top officials of Prasar Bharati, theysaid.

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

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

Sources said the I-T department had first raised thered flag over the deal following scrutiny of sub-contractpapers. The ED is in the process of issuing summons inconnection with the case under the Foreign Exchange ManagementAct (FEMA).

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

Lalli, who assumed the post in December 2006, wasindicted by the Central Vigilance Commission which accusedhim of breach of Parliamentary privilege, giving undue favoursto some broadcast companies and financial mismanagement.

The two-member Committee headed by former Comptrollerand Auditor General V K Shunglu, which went into allegedfinancial irregularities in the CWG, has strongly indictedsuspended Lalli and Doordarshan Director General Aruna Sharma,accusing them of "collusion" with the UK-based firm whichbenefited 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 awardedto SIS Live was at best about Rs 111 crore, thus resulting ina profit of at least Rs 135 crore for the UK-based company andZoom Communications.

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