The Central Bureau Of Investigation (CBI) registered a case against BSNL officials and employees of a private company, in connection with the allocation of a leased service area contract for deployment of WiMax services to a private company. It has also conducted searches at nine places in Delhi, Faridabad, Ghaziabad, Gurgaon, Chennai and Kolkata and has informed that during the searches, incriminating documents had been recovered against the said officials. According to a report by DNA, nine teams of CBI officials searched residences of BSNL and Starnet officials. The agency was questioning four senior BSNL officials, claimed the report.
The case appears to be connected with the 2G scam, and involves the allotment of a WiMax franchise in Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Gurgaon circles, by BSNL to a private company, Starnet Communications in 2009, which according to media reports, was close to former Telecom Minister A Raja. However, Raja has not been named in the FIR. Reports indicate that the company had been given preference over 5 other companies that applied for the tender and met the criterion. Under the franchise arrangement, BSNL was to get less than 30% of the revenue earned through the franchisee controlled WiMax operations.
The CBI has alleged that BSNL officials conspired and abused their official position to facilitate the awarding of franchisee contracts for three service areas, by dishonestly and intentionally withholding the sale of tender documents in a fraudulent manner, and, also by diluting the eligibility conditions to accommodate the company, causing an estimated wrongful loss of approximately Rs 535.50 crore to BSNL. It also alleged that the said company did not have the required qualification of Rs 100 crore annual turnover for the last two years and fudged its financial documents.