18 January, 2021

The Tip Of The Iceberg

The money recovered may be just loose change. Estimates suggest Rs 1,500 crore was paid in kickbacks.

The Tip Of The Iceberg

THE Rs 3.66 crore seized by the CBI in raids on Sukh Ram's residences may be peanuts compared to the goldmine waiting to be unearthed. Alleges a former high-ranking official with the Department of Telecommunications (DOT): "During Sukh Ram's three-year tenure as communications minister, Rs 1,200-1,500 crore was paid as kickbacks. About half of this amount was distributed between DOT officials, touts, within and outside the Communications Ministry, and the top brass of some telecom firms who served as conduits for the pay-offs." The story doing the industry rounds is that politicians pocketed the other half.

The unwritten norm was that 10 per cent of the value of each contract would be paid as "speed money", adds the official. The modus operandi for extracting pay-offs was simple. A centralised system was created with standing instructions that all purchase files be routed through the minister-in-charge for endorsement. While in the past, purchase contracts were normally passed by the Telecom Commission member (production)...



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