NPCC recruitment rife with corruption, Modi govt silent

Corruption is rife in appointments and awarding of projects in National Projects Construction Corporation Limited (NPCC). Even though the Director is under CBI probe, there has been silence on it

NPCC recruitment rife with corruption, Modi govt silent

Ashlin Mathew

Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in 2014 riding on the big promise to wipe out corruption in the system. But, in 2019, when Modi is in his second term, it continues to remain just that – a fake promise. In fact, it continues to thrive. In the relatively unknown PSU, National Projects Construction Corporation Limited (NPCC), corruption is rife in appointments and awarding of projects. Additionally, several are under probe in the organisation.

A Public Interest Litigation was filed in the Delhi High Court in July 2019 questioning the recruitment of at least 12 of the senior management. It was sent to the Central Vigilance Commission, which in its response to the court stated that it had conducted probe and had advised initiation of major penalty proceedings against several of the managers. It had also advised the ministry of water resources, under which NPCC falls, to examine the recruitment for the post of the Executive Director (ED) and Group General Manager (GGM). But, the bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and C Hari Shankar dismissed the case without going into its merits, though the earlier bench comprising Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V Kameshwar Rao had admitted the PIL.

The petitioner SR Husain, who is likely to file a PIL in the Supreme Court, has questioned the appointment of ED UP Mishra, GGM (engg) VV Sharma, General Manager (civil) NP Prasad, GM (civil) Kandula Veerraju, Joint GM (civil) MA Mansoori, JGM Jasmine Dhar Singh, Senior Manager (HR) K Venkat Ramanna, Deputy GM (civil) Amit Kumar Sinha, DGM D Baby, Manager (civil) Sibabrata Chakraborti, Manager (civil) Bhagirath Sarangthem and senior manager (HR) Shagun.

All of them were selected in contravention of the NPCC recruitment rules of 2012. Jasmine Dhar Singh was selected as Senior Manager (HR) even though she did not have the appropriate experience certificate. Amit Kumar Sinha has given an experience certificate from the year 1999, when his documents state that he got the graduation degree in 2000. D Baby has also submitted an experience certificate, which has no dates on it either.

Several of these recruitment anomalies were pointed out by Chief Vigilance Officer Uma Nanduri in her report.

Additionally, the appointment of the current director Manohar Kumar is also under scrutiny since 2016. When Manohar Kumar was a Joint GM, him and three other Joint GMs KK Sharma, VV Sharma and AK Gupta were promoted directly to Group General Manager. According to rules, they must become General managers before they are promoted as Group GM. With this all of them became eligible for the post of the director of NPCC and of them Manohar Kumar, who is known to be close to Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, was chosen as the director. However, soon after their promotion as Group General Managers, a case was filed with CVC against the appointed as none of them fulfilled the eligibility criteria. Of the four, only Manohar Kumar is serving in NPCC as others have retired.

According to NPCC rules, for all executive level positions, the incumbent should have worked a minimum of two years in the nest below pay scale and for internal candidates, it should be one year.

The Central Bureau of Investigation had even raided the home of Manohar Kumar in a Rs 25 lakh bribery case, where the probe agency had recently arrested seven people, including two NPCC officials. Officials said that searches from Kumar's offices in Gurugram led to the recovery of several incriminating documents, including paperwork connecting him to a corruption case for construction of Border Out-Posts for the Border Security Force worth around Rs 60 crore.

At Kumar's residence, CBI officials had found documents related to seven immovable properties worth more than Rs 15 crore in his and his family members' names, several incriminating documents, 3.4 kg of gold and diamond jewellery, and details of bank accounts under his and his family members' names, with more than Rs 25 lakh. After this raid, the agency went quiet and Manohar Kumar continues as the director of NPCC.

National Herald reached out to NPCC CMD RK Gupta and NPCC Director (Engg) Manohar Kumar regarding the anomalies. However, there has been no response for over 48 hours now. Questions were also sent to CBI regarding the corruption case against Manohar Kumar. CBI PIO RK Gaur said that the query has been forwarded to the anti-corruption department. This story will be updated when NH receives responses from them.

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Published: 01 Nov 2019, 7:45 AM