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Explained: Kashmir Power Project scam

Explained: Kashmir Power Project scam

The Central Bureau of Investigation CBI on Wednesday raided 16 locations in five cities including Mumbai, New Delhi, Jammu, Srinagar and Patna for illegally awarding contracts for the Kiru power project in Jammu and Kashmir.

The action was taken against four high-ranking government officials and a private company, including Naveen Kumar Chaudhary, an IAS official involved in the project. Former Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satyapal Malik had demanded a CBI investigation into the scam.

This case was registered on April 20, 2022, at the request of the Jammu and Kashmir administration, for allegations of malpractice in the award of the civil works contract of the Kiru Hydroelectric Power Project (HEP) worth 2.2 billion rupees to a private company Patel Engineering Limited, in 2019.

The CBI appointed Navin Kumar Choudhary of Chenab Valley Power Project (IAS, then Chairman), MS Babu (then MD), MK Mittal (then Director), Arun Kumar Mishra (then Director), and Patel Engineering Ltd, along with a few others.

“It was further alleged that in the award of the Kiru Hydroelectric Project Civil Works package, the guidelines regarding electronic bidding were not followed and although a decision was made at the CVPPPL [Chenab Valley Power Projects Ltd] Board Meeting to rebid through electronic bidding with the reverse auction, after the cancellation of the ongoing bidding process, it was not implemented [according to the decision made at the next Board meeting] and finally the bid was awarded to said private company”, the CBI said.

The investigative agency found that Amrendra Kumar Singh, whose flats were also raided today, had filed several shell companies in New Delhi, and Anita Choudhary, the wife of Navin Choudhary, had taken Rs 28 lakh per year from KK Resorts as well as the ghost company to do accounting work even though she had no such experience.

The people, whose premises were searched today in Jammu, include KK Resorts in Talab Tillo Bohri, owned by Vijay Gupta, one of the main brokers hired by Navin Choudhary, the residence of Vijay Gupta 62/2 Trikuta Nagar, the nephew of Vijay Gupta, the son of Ricky Gupta of Dharampal Gupta at 7 A/C Gandhi Nagar, Rakesh Kumar Gupta, Chartered Accountant at 109-B AD Gandhi Nagar and Ritesh Gupta son of Pradeep Gupta R/o H No. 318 Lane No. 11 in Talab Tillo Bohri.

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Two wanted locations in Srinagar to include Shahid Ahmad Kamili, another broker, a resident of Building No. 439 D-1/4, Government Colony in Bemina, Srinagar and SIDCO Industrial Estate in Rangreth Srinagar, owned by Kamili.

The agency has booked Navin Kumar Choudhary, M S Babu, former MD, M K Mittal and Arun Kumar Mishra, former Directors and Patel Engineering Ltd.

“During the investigation, evidence was found revealing the alleged role of intermediaries, including the then-president, and financial transactions between these intermediaries and public servants, for which searches are being carried out in 16 places,” the sources said.

Satyapal Malik, who was Governor of Jammu and Kashmir between August 23, 2018, and October 30, 2019, claimed that he was offered a Rs 300 million bribe for deleting two files.

“After going to Kashmir, two files (for clearance) came to me, one belonging to Ambani and one to a man affiliated with RSS who was a minister in the previous PDP-BJP coalition government led by Mehbooba Mufti and claimed to be very close to the prime minister (Narendra Modi),” Malik had said.

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