The CBI has booked eminent meteorologist Gufran-Ullah Beig for alleged irregularities in procurement of 12 digital display boards for the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune in 2011-12, officials said on Thursday. The winner of prestigious Shanti Swaroop Bhatnagar award in the discipline of Earth, Atmosphere, Ocean and Planetary Sciences, Beig is known as an ace weather scientist who contributed immensely in setting up 'System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research' – SAFAR -INDIA.
The system provides location specific information on current and up to 3-days advance forecast for air quality and weather parameters commonly used to forecast air quality during stubble burning in winters. The CBI, which conducted preliminary inquiry into the matter, has alleged that Beig, as project director of SAFAR, procured 12 digital display systems for IITM at exorbitant prices from a private vendor, Video Wall India Pvt Ltd.
The agency has also carried out searches in the case, they said. Beig was not available on his official residence phone number to comment on the development.
The agency has alleged that Beig entered in a criminal conspiracy with Vipin R Malli, the senior technical officer, Anil Chandrakant Girkar, the managing director of Video Wall, and his wife Manisha, a director in the company, and disqualified other bidders on "flimsy" grounds. The CBI after six months of preliminary inquiry has not given any figure about the loss incurred by the exchequer but said that by accepting "cheap Made in China" products, the accused caused "huge wrongful loss" to IITM and corresponding gains for the suppliers and themselves.
According to preliminary enquiry findings, Video Wall had submitted a bogus self declaration that they were original equipment manufacturers (OEM) of outdoor digital LED boards on March 31, 2012, they said. The findings showed that they were not the origin equipment manufacturer instead they were importing display panels and accessories from China and assembling them in conformity with the requirements of their clients, they said.
The agency alleged that Beig and Malli deliberately did not seek make and model of the products, circuit diagrams and manuals to conceal that Video Wall was not the OEM, and instead supplied cheap Chinese products, they said.