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 Up loaded on Saturday February 19, 2011

Shunglu Committee”s report: PM orders CBI inquiry into Shunglu report.


Please read the news stories regarding Shunglu Committee”s report  from various news sources

                           PM walks the talk, orders CBI probe into CWG telecast deal

TNN, Feb 19, 2011, 02.33am IST
NEW DELHI: Within two days of saying "wrongdoers" in the Commonwealth Games scams will not escape, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh ordered a CBI probe into alleged graft in the Rs 214 crore Games telecast deal.

In the dock are suspended Prasar Bharati head BS Lalli and director general of Doordarshan Aruna Sharma, with the first report of the Shunglu committee on Commonwealth Games irregularities recommendation for action against both officials now sent to the CBI. This follows comments by the cabinet secretariat.

In an official statement, the Prime Minister's Office said Sharma would revert to her parent cadre while the information and broadcasting ministry would seek explanations from Lalli and Sharma on "allegations" made against them and recommend action within two weeks.

The prosecution of Lalli and Sharma seems almost certain as the Shunglu committee's finding that an Indian sub-contractor made around Rs 70 crore profit from a deal between Prasar Bharati and UK firm SIS Live is likely to be echoed by the government auditor as well. The sub-contract between SIS Live and Zoom Communications was signed the very day the UK firm sealed the deal with Prasar Bharati.

Sharma completed her tenure on Friday and her return to Madhya Pradesh cadre was on the cards. Since Lalli's post as chief executive officer of Prasar Bharati is covered by a statute, a reference has already been made to President Pratibha Patil on the basis of a previous adverse Central Vigilance Committee report.
The I&B ministry will also review payments made to SIS Live and consider measures to recover funds in case of "over payment." The British high commission has already protested a decision to withhold the last tranche of payment due to the firm.

But the Shunglu committee estimates the telecast cost just about 50% of the Rs 214 crore contract.

In what might lead to a review and changes in the Prasar Bharati Act, the Prime Minsiter's Office said the relationship between the government, CEO and Board of Prasar Bharati needed to be considered afresh.

Also, "issues regarding the governance structure and the oversight mechanism" will be considered by a group of ministers headed by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee.

The government does not want to be in a situation where an official like Lalli is protected by the statute and cannot be checked. The financial and other powers of Prasar Bharati are already subject to I&B scrutiny and these will be acted on.

The group of ministers is being asked to expedite its work so that "corrective administrative and legislative measures" are put in place.

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      PM orders CBI inquiry into Shunglu panel report

 Anxious to send a stern message against corruption, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has decided to order a CBI inquiry into the findings of the Shunglu committee report that indicted key Prasar Bharati functionaries in award of broadcasting rights of Commonwealth Games.

Singh had earlier asked cabinet secretary KM Chandrasekhar to examine the first inquiry report by former Comptroller & Auditor General VK Shunglu into alleged irregularities committed ahead of the Games.

In his five-point plan of action made public on Friday, the Prime Minister, however, went beyond the cabinet secretary’s recommendations and ordered stern action. This included the CBI inquiry and a directive to Aruna Sharma, Director General, Doordarshan, to pack up her bags and return to her parent cadre, Madhya Pradesh.

The Shunglu committee report had indicted suspended Prasar Bharati chief BS Lalli and Doordarshan DG Aruna Sharma in the award of broadcasting rights of Commonwealth Games to UK-based firm Sis Live.

Sharma, who belongs to the Madhya Pradesh cadre of IAS, has been reverted back to the state, a statement by the Prime Minister’s Office said.

Singh also directed the Information & Broadcasting Ministry to seek Lalli and Sharma’s explanation as well as review the claims made by M/s SIS LIVE 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 Prime Minister also decided to ask the Group of Ministers (GoM) headed by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee to look into the relationship between the government and the Prasar Bharati.

The GoM has also been told to examine Prasar Bharati’s governance structure and the oversight mechanism put in place by the I&B ministry in respect of such events. The ministerial panel is also being told to expedite its work so that administrative and legislative measures could be put in place at the earliest, the PMO said.

Read more:http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/Print/664082.aspx

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                       Prasar Bharati CEO not given hearing by Shunglu Committee: I&B

NEW DELHI: The Information and Broadcasting Ministry is reported to have stated in a note to Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrashekhar that neither former Prasar Bharati CEO B S Lalli nor Doordarshan Director General were given an opportunity by the Shunglu Committee to explain their position relating to broadcasting rights for the Commonwealth Games 2010.

It is learnt by indiantelevision.com that the reply by the Ministry is generally based on a note sent by Doordarshan Directorate-General explaining its stand on the issue.

Doordarshan is understood to have told the Ministry that the principle of natural justice was violated in that the Committee never made an effort to hear the broadcaster’s side before finalising its report.

It is also learnt to have given a point by point reply to the various charges made in the report of the Committee, challenging its findings.

The Ministry said proper procedures were followed in making the contract amendments at the centre of the inquiry, including seeking the legal opinion of government law officers and the views of the appropriate authorities. It also cites the opinion given by additional solicitor general Vivek K. Tankha in this regard..

Earlier on 1 February, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had asked Chandrashekhar to submit within a week his recommendation on the action that can be taken on the report of the Shunglu Committee with regard to broadcasting rights for the Commonwealth Games 2010.

The Prime Minister had taken a serious view of the findings of the first report of the Committee. Stern action is likely to be taken on the basis of the Cabinet Secretary’s recommendations, the statement said, adding that Lalli had already been suspended.

The Shunglu Committee submitted its interim report to Singh on 31 January on irregularities relating to broadcasting rights during the Commonwealth Games.

The Committee headed by former Comptroller and Auditor General V K Shunglu, which has been set up to look at various issues relating to the Games, has indicted Lalli who had allegedly favoured giving the broadcast rights to the British company SIS Live resulting in losses to tune of around Rs 1.35 billion to the exchequer.

Read more:http://www.indiantelevision.com/headlines/y2k11/feb/feb109.php

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                              I&B ministry challenges findings of Shunglu panel.

The information and broadcasting (I&B) ministry has mounted a vigorous defence of itself against allegations of wrongdoing levelled by a government panel in the award of contracts for coverage of the Commonwealth Games (CWG) last October.

The ministry rebuttal has been addressed to cabinet secretary K.M. Chandrashekar, according to three officials familiar with the development. The note and the documents accompanying it have also been reviewed by Mint.

The ministry said proper procedures were followed in making the contract amendments at the centre of the inquiry, including seeking the legal opinion of government law officers and the views of the appropriate authorities.

Inappropriate changes were made in the terms of a Rs.246 crore deal between state-run broadcaster Prasar Bharati and the UK’s SIS Live, which led to undue financial benefit to the British company, according to a report by the panel headed by former comptroller and auditor general of India V.K. Shunglu. The panel had been appointed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to examine the irregularities in the conduct of the Games.

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                 ‘Prasar Bharati brass ignored I&B concerns, colluded with UK firm’

The V K Shunglu committee report pinned down Prasar Bharati top brass, including former CEO B S Lalli for deliberately ignoring the I&B ministry's concerns and colluding with private broadcast firm SIS Live ahead of the Commonwealth Games.

The report's observations against SIS Live were denied by the firm though the Shunglu panel said significant changes were made in the contract relating to liquidation damages and sub-contracting without the ministry's approval. The report said advance payment to SIS Live was hiked from 30% to 60% days before the Games despite the ministry's reservations. It has charged Lalli and Doordarshan director general Aruna Sharma for causing a loss of Rs 135 crore.

The report gives credence to I&B ministry's misgivings about the broadcast deal awarded to the UK broadcaster. SIS Live's clout with Prasar Bharati is evident in the major deviations that took place in the draft contract between October 2010 and March 2011. This was in violation of Central Vigilance Commission norms.

The changes agreed to by Prasar Bharati included changes in terms of payments, performance guarantee, liquidated damages and duties and liabilities of Prasar Bharati and SIS Live as well as sub-contracting. Some of these demands were made by other entities shortlisted but were summarily rejected by Prasar Bharati.

The report said, "Most of these changes were heavily loaded against the interests of Prasar Bharati and diluted the liabilities and obligations of SIS Live." This was done despite I&B ministry pointing out amendments to the contract would leave the field open for legal intervention by other parties who had lost the bid.

The committee found the public broadcaster ignored the ministry's advice to conduct price comparisons and verification of services and was willing to pay exorbitant rates for production and coverage of the Games. All this was compounded by procedural delays.

The report said, "Ministry and finance wing of Prasar Bharati had expressed concerns and questioned the propriety of awarding contracts under defective and vitiated procedures adopted on a number of occasions. These concerns were brushed aside by PB and DD on the grounds of criticality of time."

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                            Ministry, GoM didn't stop DD loot: Shunglu

NEW DELHI: Senior political figures responsible for conduct of the Commonwealth Games are in the line of fire for their inability in preventing officials from colluding with a UK-based broadcaster to cause a Rs 135 crore loss to the government. 

The Shunglu committee's interim report on the graft-tainted Games said the information and broadcasting minister and a ministerial group failed in oversight functions. It recommended action against suspended Prasar Bharati chief B S Lalli and director general of Doordarshan Aruna Sharma.

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          Manmohan Singh warns of ”stern action” following Shunglu Committee”s report

The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, has taken a ”serious view” of the Shunglu Committee”s findings on alleged irregularities in awarding broadcast rights of the Commonwealth Games, and warned of ”stern action” against the guilty.

“The Prime Minister has taken a serious view of the findings of the first report of the Shunglu Committee on Host Broadcasting. The report has been sent to Cabinet Secretary for urgent examination. The Cabinet Secretary has been asked to submit his report within a week with his considered recommendation on follow up steps,” said a Prime Minister”s Office release.
“Stern action is likely to be taken on the basis of Cabinet Secretary”s recommendations. The Chief Executive Officer of the Prasar Bharati B. S. Lalli has already been suspended by the Government,” the release adds.

The Committee, which is led by V K Shunglu, has in the first of a series of reports submitted to the Prime Minister”s Office and Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrasekhar last Saturday recommended that criminal cases be registered against former Prasar Bharati CEO B S Lalli and Director General, Doordarshan, Aruna Sharma for allegedly causing an estimated Rs 135-crore loss to the exchequer for granting CWG broadcasting rights to UK-based SIS Live.

 Read more: http://www.b4uindia.com/national/manmohan-singh-warns-of-stern-action-following-shunglu-committees-report.html

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                                Games probe nails Prasar, DD chiefs

New Delhi, Feb. 1: A probe has indicted the suspended Prasar Bharati chief, B.S. Lalli, and Doordarshan director-general Aruna Sharma for allegedly favouring British firm SIS Live as host broadcaster for the Commonwealth Games and causing the government “a loss of at least Rs 135 crore”.

The V.K. Shunglu committee, set up by the Prime Minister on October 25 to investigate Games corruption, has recommended that Lalli and Sharma be booked under penal code sections and the Prevention of Corruption Act. It has asked the Centre to recover the “excess” sum paid to SIS Live.

Lalli, already suspended over alleged irregularities in Prasar, is a retired IAS officer and Sharma a serving one. A PMO statement said Manmohan Singh, to whom the panel handed its report yesterday, had taken a “serious view” of the matter. “Stern action is likely... on the basis of the cabinet secretary’s recommendations,” it said.

Read more: http://www.telegraphindia.com/1110202/jsp/nation/story_13524493.jsp#

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                   Shunglu panel indicts Lalli, Aruna Sharma on CWG deal


A High Level Committee, which went into alleged financial irregularities in Commonwealth Games, has strongly indicted suspended Prasar Bharti CEO B S Lalli and Doordarshan Director General Aruna Sharma, accusing them of "collusion" with a UK-based firm which benefited Rs 135 crore in the broadcast deal.

The two-member Committee headed by former Comptroller and Auditor General V K Shunglu has also recommended action against the two officials saying "they cannot be recused from the acts of omission and commission which facilitated this wrong doing".

Read more:http://www.indianexpress.com/news/Shunglu-panel-indicts-Lalli--Aruna-Sharma-on-CWG-deal/744724?sms_ss=facebook&at_xt=4d481e35b3cfd3de,0

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            Prasar Bharati awarded CWG contracts arbitrarily: Shunglu Committee

The Shunglu Committee said in its first report Tuesday that Commonwealth Games contracts were awarded by public broadcaster Prasar Bharati abrbitrarily "without ensuring reasonable rates and overruling suggestions".

The report also noted that Prasar Bharati sanctioned highly inflated bills for the host broadcasting of the Commonwealth Games held in Delhi in October 2010.
Most of the decisions to support and award the inflated bids were take by the director general of Dooradarshan (Aruna Sharma) and then chief executive officer B.S. Lalli (now under suspension) despite the strong contrary view, the committee said.

The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) Tuesday said it has taken a "serious view" on the first report and will take "stern action" on it."The prime minister has taken a serious view of the findings of the first report of the Shunglu Committee on host broadcasting" by the UK-based SIS Live, a PMO statement said.

"The report has been sent to the cabinet secretary (K.M. Chandrasekhar). Stern action is likely to be taken on the basis of the cabinet secretary's recommendations," the statement added.
The PMO has also said that Chandrasekhar has been asked to submit his report within a week with his "considered recommendation on follow-up steps".

The Shunglu Committee has indicted Lalli and Aruna Sharma for allegedly causing Rs.135 crore loss to the exchequer in awarding to the British firm the broadcasting rights for the Commonwealth Games.Shunglu, a former comptroller and auditor general (CAG) of India, was appointed to head a committee to probe allegations of corruption in the conduct of the CWG. Shantanu Consul, a former union government secretary, is the second member of the panel.

Read more: http://www.prokerala.com/news/articles/a199082.html?sms_ss=facebook&at_xt=4d481ede557997e0,0

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                                  Lalli flouted legal fee norms

Suspended Prasar Bharti CEO BS Lalli forced the public broadcaster to pay “unjustifiably high fees” to the government and private lawyers amounting to Rs 5 crore flouting the rules, the probe panel has concluded.

The PM-appointed VK Shunglu panel has also slammed the questionable legal opinions sought by the Prasar Bharti Corporation in matters related to the telecast of Commonwealth Games held last October.

The Shunglu panel has relied on the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) report to put Lalli in the dock for the “payment of exorbitant legal fees” to lawyers appearing in cases which included those challenging his continuation in the job.

Official documents show that the Doordarshan (DD) paid around R5 crore to government and private lawyers representing it in the Supreme Court and the Delhi high court between 2007 and 2009.

This was 12 times more than R40 lakh spent on lawyers between 2004 and 2007 for the official litigation.

“Vigilance inquiry found that from the year 2006 to 2009 there was exponential increase in payments made to the legal entities by Prasar Bharti and 78% of these payments was on account of engaging senior private advocates at ad hoc rates.”

“The panel of regular advocates was reduced to create grounds for increased engagment of private advocates…. The whole process was based on decisions taken by the CEO without the approval of the Prasar Bharti Board,” stated the Shunglu panel report.

According to CVC officials, the existing norms permit Prasar Bharti to engage lawyers from an empanelled list for ‘R15,000 per appearance.

The CVC report had indicted Lalli for paying ‘a minimum fees’ of R2 lakh to external advocates for one appearance.

Six law officers of the government were paid R1.10 crore in cases related to shutting out some private channels from the DD’s direct-to-home service.

Read more:http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/Print/657822.aspx

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                       Several flaws in Shunglu Committee report: ZOOM

New Delhi, Feb 3 (PTI)

Broadcast services firm ZOOM Communications today claimed there were several inaccuracies in the Shunglu Committee's interim report on the Commonwealth Games telecast deal.

"ZOOM Communications completed all the requisite deliverables including hotels for all crew, wages for crew provided by ZOOM, helicopter hire, RF licenses, freight for equipment, travel (overseas and domestic), clearing and forwarding, consumables, warehousing and office space, local transport and food, etc," the company said in a statement, adding there were "several inaccuracies" in the report.

"All these were part of its scope of work in the sub- contract with SIS Live and have resulted in costs currently estimated to be approximately Rs 129 crore for this project," it said.

Reacting on the committee's findings that UK-based SIS Live sub-contracted the CWG broadcast deal with Prasar Bharti to it for Rs 177 crore, the firm said, "The value of the sub-contract to ZOOM Communications is Rs 160.74 crore and not Rs 177 crore as stated in the finding of the First Report of the HLC on Host Broadcasting."

"The figure of Rs 177 crore includes a 10.3 per cent service tax that is not revenue to ZOOM Communications but service tax paid/payable to the government of India."
The high-level committee headed by former Comptroller and Auditor General V K Shunglu in its report submitted to the Prime Minister's office on February 1, recommended registration of criminal cases against suspended Prasar Bharti CEO B S Lalli and Doordarshan Director General Aruna Sharma.

It accused them of collusion with the UK-based firm which benefited to the tune of Rs 135 crore in the broadcast deal for the sporting extravaganza held here from October 3-14 last year.

"It is a worldwide practice that all primary contractors request for costs from potential sub-contractors in order to arrive at their own competitive bid price. In the case of CWG 2010... SIS Live too sub-contracted ZOOM Communications for CWG 2010 only after requesting for competitive bids from various international sub-contractors," it said.
ZOOM Communications, which is one of the largest Outside Broadcast services provider in South East Asia, said that it made a profit of Rs 65 crore from the CWG deal.

"ZOOM Communications has not made a profit of Rs 65 crore from the CWG sub-contract. The company had estimated a profit of Rs 75 crore in October 2010 for the entire financial year 2010-11 (that is still underway and ending on March 31, 2011). However, this estimated profit for the entire financial year of 2010-2011 has now been revised to approximately Rs 52 crore," the company said.

It said that SIS Live and ZOOM Communications are two completely independent companies having no linkages with each other, both at ownership and management levels.

Read more:http://www.deccanherald.com/content/134483/several-flaws-shunglu-committee-report.html

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