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 Up loaded on Wednesday March 16, 2011

 DD under-bid, alleges Prasar Bharati official.


          A Senior Prasar Bharati official has sought a probe into what he calls “under-bidding” by Doordarshan (DD) for revenue marketing rights for the ongoing cricket World Cup.In a letter to the Chairperson of the Prasar Bharati Board, Member (Finance) A K Jain has alleged that DD’s Rs-30 crore bid allowed ESPN to “walk away” with its bid of Rs 32 crore, “which is substantially lower than the revenues which should have been expected out of this event”.

“I recommend a detailed enquiry/investigation into this and also all cricket rights contracts entered into between 2009 till date as these have been settled at throwaway prices causing financial losses to Prasar Bharati in crores,” he stated in the letter dated February 14, 2011. Jain had blown the whistle about irregularities during the tenure of B S Lalli.

“The appropriate bid in this regard, in my view, should have been placed at Rs 112.5 crore based on a conservative assessment,” said Jain. DD’s bid of Rs 30 crore considering an average realisation of a meagre Rs 40,000 per spot of 10 seconds is “downright a pointer to serious financial irregularities”, he said adding that the contract was settled “with the approval of DG, DD and the Nominated Member without following the regular financial process despite the same being pointed out”.

Rajiv Takru, Nominated Member, Prasar Bharati Board, however, rejected Jain’s contention terming it as a “non-issue”. “Rs 32 crore was just for minimum guarantee. Irrespective of who markets it, share of revenue is 75 per cent to ESPN and 25 per cent to Doordarshan depending on actuals and not on bids. Formal invoices are raised. There is complete recording by both sides. Exact records of the telecast are maintained. The invoices are cross-verified by both sides,” Takru, officiating CEO, told The Indian Express.

Prasar Bharti Board is likely to take up the issue at a meeting on Wednesday, said sources.

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