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NTPC spends crores to woo babus

Feb 08, 2007 06:50 PM IST India India

New Delhi: National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), India's largest power utility, has been using taxpayers' money to oblige the babus in the Ministry of Power. CNN-IBN Special Investigation Team used the Right to Information Act to reveal how the PSU is buying everything from laptops and plasma TVs to furniture for top officials in the Power Ministry.

NTPC is the sixth largest thermal power generator in the world and one of India's Navratna Public Sector Undertakings.

The CNN-IBN Special investigation Team has collected documents under the Right to Information Act that show how this PSU has been draining its resources to pay for various requirements of the Power Ministry officials on a regular basis.

A table worth a lakh, a plasma TV worth Rs 1.5 lakh, a notebook computer worth Rs 1.2 lakh, the list goes on. These are the assets gifted to the Ministry of Power by the country's largest power utility.

Over the last two years, NTPC has gifted these products and more to the offices and homes of many Power Ministry officials. And all these are being paid for misusing the funds of the PSU.

According to official records, NTPC spent close to Rs 3 lakh on pantry and stationery items meant for the Power Ministry, more than Rs 30 lakh on furniture and office equipment and over Rs 6 lakh on conveyance. It has also been paying the telephone bills of a number of officials, including former power secretary RV Shahi, two joint secretaries -- M Sahoo and Harish Chandra -- and Thermal Director Puneet Goel among others.

In the last 2 years alone, NTPC spent about Rs 75 lakh from taxpayers' money to please the Power Ministry babus.

On being contacted, NTPC official refused to come on camera, but did admit that they often have to oblige the ministry officials to get their work done. When contacted, the Power Ministry official, however, refused to comment.

The Central Vigilance Commission is now looking into the matter. "We have sought the details from NTPC. We have also sent enquiries to the Ministry of Power," Sudhir Kumar, Vigilance Commissioner, said.

With Saif Kidwai