CBI should probe graft in Railways policy implementation: PAC

New Delhi, Dec 18 (IANS) The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Monday demanded that the CBI probe the remaining cases of “corruption” in implementation of the railways’ dual freight policy (DFP) and ensure that “guilty officials are brought to book”.

The case involves corruption of over Rs 29,000 crore from 2007-08 to 2011-12, when the United Progressive Alliance was in power.

The PAC report, presented in the Lok Sabha on Monday, also expressed “shock” as it observed that the Railways Ministry was unable to prevent large scale irregularities and rampant corruption under the DFP.

“Even though the financial loss of expected goods earnings is to the tune of Rs 29,236.78 crore, the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) is investigating very few cases involving only Rs 305.06 crore,” the PAC said in the report on the action taken by the Railways Ministry.

The scandal was first exposed in 2011 by Kolkata-based South-Eastern Railway and since then several agencies, including the CBI, have been investigating the issue.

The dual rate policy was aimed at capitalising on the increasing global iron ore prices in 2008. Under the DFP, the tariff for transportation of iron ore to ports for the purpose of exports was three times the rate charged for transporting the same commodity for domestic use in steel and cement industries.

According to the PAC report, which was also presented in the Rajya Sabha on Monday, a few manufacturing units which availed lower domestic freight rates in transport of iron ore instead of consuming it in their domestic units, exported it, which led to evasion of freight.

“The committee, therefore, desires the CBI to investigate all the remaining cases of irregularities or corruption in implementation of DFP and ensure that guilty officials are brought to book at the earliest,” the PAC said.

In its report, the PAC also mentioned that the Railways Ministry has admitted that onus of conforming the end use of iron ore was on consignor and consignee.

The Committee also recommended the Railways Ministry to exercise extra vigilance, ensure through scrutiny of documents and conduct surprise inspections on consignees’ premises whenever such DFP are implemented.

“The railways needs to review and evaluate its general freight policy to prevent loopholes and lacunae therein and rectify the same in a time bound manner,” the PAC noted.

–IANS

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