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