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Chargsheet shows how CIRT slipped on plywood

On July 12,2010,a CBI team carried out a surprise check at the testing laboratory of CIRT.

Written by SushantKulkarni | Pune |
September 10, 2011 3:12:28 am

It all began in July 2010 after CBI officials got a tip off that some samples of the marine plywood sheets used as flooring in the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) buses that had come to CIRT for tests were allegedly fraudently replaced with fresh plywood sheets after some of the them failed the fire-resistance test. Of the 90 buses supplied,some were used during the Commonwealth Games.

On July 12,2010,a CBI team carried out a surprise check at the testing laboratory of CIRT. The initial check revealed that nine samples were replaced with fresh sheets. After primary scrutiny,the CBI filed a case on July 21 against officials of the CIRT and Ashok Leyland. Rajpal Singh,deputy superintendent of police and the investigating officer for the case,said,“As per standard procedure,Ashok Leyland would use the marine plywood boards in bus assembly only if it had clearance from CIRT after due laboratory test. At the Alwar Factory of Ashok Leyland,uniquely numbered stickers were affixed to the marine board sheets in presence of DTC staffers and Ashok Leyland officials after primary inspection. All officers present there used to sign the sticker. These samples,randomly taken out from a set of 10 pieces,were sent to CIRT for test.”

“One could conclude that number of buses that used faulty flooring could have been as much as 90. We came to know that the faulty marine plywood board could only sustain fire for nine to 21 minutes as against the norm of 30 minutes,” the charge-sheet stated. The fire test was unofficially communicated to Ashok Leyland officials by CIRT lab experts.

The officers at Ashok Leyland and the supplier Pragati Hightech Products ,now accused in the case,then allegedly sent fresh plywood samples without sticker to CIRT. These were then tested and a positive test result was communicated to Ashok Leyland,the chargesheet stated.

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Singh added,“Most surprising was that the company had already manufactured the buses even when testing of samples was not yet complete.”

An Ashok Leyland release clarified,“There was an instance of one lot of nine samples of a flooring material that failed one of the tests at CIRT. Due to a procedural lapse,the buses fitted with failed material had been delivered to DTC…”.

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