Within 15 months the project was scrapped as the Central Vigilance Commission pointed to a high-level scam and the Central Bureau of Investigation pointed out that the Authentix marker was definitely not tamper proof as claimed.
The marker then came at an annual cost of Rs 200 crore. Authentix was allowed to increase its rates by 55 per rcent. International competitive prices were allegedly never checked.
The cost of the earlier fuel marker was Rs 2,550 per litre, but Authentix sold it for Rs 13,219 per litre.
Ravi Srivastava and Ashok Singh were the two Hindustan Petroleum employees who blew the whistle on this. Both have now been sacked.
The Central Vigilance Commission had found that Authentix earlier operated under the name Biocode, which the Petroleum Ministry had rejected because its product failed to meet standard requirements.
The irony is that yet again the country is falling back on Authentix.