New Delhi: A CVC investigation has found that officials of Commonwealth Games Organising Committee had hired equipment for overlay works at over 14 times the actual price. The CVC, in its report to CBI on overlays scam, has said that the committee had taken equipment on rent at an inflated Rs 42.34 crore (over 1,400 per cent higher) against the actual cost of Rs 2.80 crore, thus giving undue benefits to the companies.

Besides, the investigators of the anti-corruption watchdog have found indications of collusive bidding, cost of renting items far higher than the cost of procurement, unreasonably high rate on supplied items, double payment and inferior quality in the overlays work.

The OC had given overlays contract of Rs 687.86 crore to four firms, M/s Pico Deepali Overlays Consortium, Delhi, M/s Nussli (Switzerland) Ltd, Switzerland, M/s ESAJV: D Art:Indo Consortium, New Delhi and M/s GL-Meroform, France. The work included managing temporary structures like tents, video boards, furniture and fixtures, generator sets among others at 62 venues (23 competition venues, 32 training venues and 7 non competition venues) grouped in seven clusters.

In its internal report, CVC also said there was "no cooperation" from OC officials in furnishing documents, clarifications and information during its probe in the alleged scam.

"Instead of furnishing specific replies to the queries...they (OC) have sent voluminous documents without indicating their relevance. Site visits were futile as no document was available, and none of the officials available at site could explain the detailed methodology for verification and recording of measurements of supply, installation, testing and commissioning of various items of the overlays work," the report said.

It said initially, a tentative estimate of Rs 400 crore on account of overlays had been made. Subsequently, a cost estimate of Rs 948.52 crore was prepared by the OC. This was brought down to Rs 687.86 crore (including Rs 58.90 crore for Image and Look, Rs 54 crore for TSR and network switches etc, and Rs 40 crore for contingencies).

Officials of the probity watchdog found that there were discrepancies in choosing the companies for awarding works. Some of the companies did not meet pre-qualification criteria.

Citing indication of collusion bidding, the report said, "Bidders were asked to submit cluster-wise prices. Bidders have quoted different prices for different clusters for the same items."

The CVC also alleged criminal conspiracy in changing scope of work from procurement to rental without any "assets creation".

"According to final/revised estimates approved by the Expenditure Finance Committee, of the total Rs 687.06 crore, Rs 419.19 crores were to be spent on acquiring overlays on rental basis while Assets were to be created for the rest of Rs 267.85 crore.

"However, it is seen that while inviting the tenders for all seven clusters, the scope was completely changed to rental basis only without any Assets creation," the report said.

It found that for some items, the rates awarded seem to be quite high. For example, GL Meroform has been awarded 600 VA UPS at Rs 60,688, treadmill at Rs 8.83 lakh, water dispenser at Rs 32,986 and fixed flood lighting poles at Rs 3.22 lakh.

"Cupboard Pigeonhole has been ordered on ESAJV at Rs 56,664. Similarly, rental charges for coolers is Rs 80,000...doors at Rs 1,32,759 and for ramps it is Rs 68,250," it said.

In its finding on works carried out at Yamuna Sports Complex, it is seen that firm (ESAJV) has actually installed locally assembled air conditioners at Press Conference area, which were not at all effective...

"The rental charged by M/s Nussli for refrigerator large (Videocon model VAP233 as supplied) is Rs 31,597 but actual purchase price of this refrigerator is about Rs 10,500 only.

"Similarly, in case of M/s ESAJV, they have charged Rs 17,407 for LG model 195 NMS refrigerator as against the actual purchase price of about Rs 9,500 for the same model and M/s Pico Deepali has charged Rs 38,261 for refrigerator small (Samsung make) as against the market purchase price of Rs 12, 889. Thus the rentals charged are more than the actual purchase price of the refrigerators," it said.

The CVC investigations also found that "local and Chinese make items were passed as international quality". Most of the furniture is Chinese like chair, sofa, modular furniture...sourced locally," it added.

Based on CVC's finding and its recommendations, the CBI has registered an FIR in this regard and on March 7 arrested Sandeep Wadhwa, MD of Comfort Net which is a part of the Switzerland-based Nussli India consortium.

The CBI had also accused former OC Director General V K Verma and other officials of the Committee of entering into a criminal conspiracy in awarding contracts for overlays for different venues of Commonwealth Games held here from October 3-14 last year at an exorbitant price.

It had also arrested Additional Director General of CWG Organising Committee K U K Reddy and close aide of former OC Chairman Suresh Kalmadi Deorukhkar Shekhar among others in overlays scam.