CBI raids army officers' residence in Kanpur mobile tower scam

National |  IANS  | Published :

Lucknow, Sep 4 (IANS) A CBI team conducted raids at the residences of a brigadier and two others in connection with the establishment of seven cell towers in Kanpur's Cantonment area which were allegedly done in gross violation of rules.

The CBI has named Brigadier Naveen Singh, who was the station commander of Kanpur station headquarters between 2016 and 2019, his staff officers, Lieutenant Colonel R.P. Ram, Colonel Dushyant Singh and Indus Towers Limited, the Lucknow-based company that installed the towers.

The three officers and the company have been booked under the charges of IPC 120 B (criminal conspiracy), IPC 420 (dishonesty) and the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The FIR was registered on September 1.

The approval for registering the FIR against the officers was received from the Union Ministry of Defence on July 25.

The CBI collected important evidence by raiding the residences of three Army officers in Lucknow Cantt and the company’s office at BBD Tower in Lucknow’s Vibhuti Khand on Sunday.

Brigadier Naveen Singh is currently posted in Lucknow. Two others accused also live in the state capital.

According to the FIR lodged by the CBI, the investigating agency had received information from reliable sources that during his posting in Kanpur, Brigadier Naveen Singh had handed over the work of illegally installing seven mobile towers to Indus Towers Limited of Lucknow.

It was the responsibility of the Cantonment Board to get this work done.

In this regard, the Defence Ministry had also issued guidelines through a circular in 2018.

Preliminary investigations revealed that Brigadier Naveen Singh did not follow the guidelines given by the ministry.

They did not even constitute a board to identify the place for installing mobile towers, the FIR said.

“The monthly rent received for the installation of the towers was not deposited in the government treasury. There is a possibility that this rent was usurped by the accused officers. Allegations are also that the Army officers misused their position to oblige Indus Tower Limited and availed undue benefits from the company,” the CBI said in the FIR.

Investigations revealed that Lieutenant Colonel R.P. Ram, who was the staff officer of the station commander, gave the work to Indus Towers Limited on a trial basis, saying that the tender would be issued after six months, after which towers were installed at two places.

After this, he took the permission of Brigadier Naveen Singh and gave him the work of installing towers at all seven places.

The company deposited Rs 26 lakhs as rent in August 2019, while the towers were installed in August 2018. Investigations revealed that Indus Towers had given a proposal for this work on September 8, 2016.

During this period, Airtel and Jio had also given their proposals, but their negative reports were sent to the higher officials.

The Anti-Corruption Branch of CBI, Lucknow, along with Central Command officials had also conducted a surprise check of Kanpur Cantonment Board area on August 30, 2019.

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