Monday, December 09, 2019

Posted at: Jul 23, 2019, 7:20 AM; last updated: Jul 23, 2019, 6:50 PM (IST)

Km scheme: Vigilance wants 5 bidders booked

Recommends inquiry against one official, holds five guilty of misconduct

Geetanjali Gayatri

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 22

Recommending the registration of a criminal case against five bidders for fraudulently getting tenders for buses released in their favour under the Haryana Government’s kilometre scheme, the Haryana Vigilance Department has recommended a departmental inquiry against one official while holding five others, including an HCS officer, guilty of “misconduct which needs to be taken up by the government”.

Terming the now scrapped tender process for 510 buses being hired for the kilometre scheme as a “colourable exercise”, the report prepared by the department’s special enquiry team headed by ADGP RC Mishra said the process was marred by “collusive bidding, cheating and fraud by bidders”. It accused officials of the Transport Department of lack of diligence and mala fide intention.

The 25-page report examined allegations levelled by Haryana Roadways Employees Coordination Committee, Cooperative Transport Societies Welfare Association and Palwal MLA Karan Dalal. These ranged from lack of comparison with states having similar schemes to tendering being manipulated and no comparison with past bids.

The report, after recording the statements of bidders, officials and complainants, arrived at the conclusion that the higher authorities in the government were presented wrong facts by the committee of the Transport Department constituted for the tendering process and the reality, through a simple error in calculation, was “a deliberate attempt on the part of these officers to justify hiring rates”.

On the allegation of exorbitant bus hiring rates finalised by the government, the report admitted that the rate was very high and unreasonable and departmental officers got these approved by giving wrong projections and incorrect figures and misleading higher authorities. The officers were named in the report and the government asked to take cognisance of acts of omission and commission.

The complainants maintained that the 510 buses were to be hired at a rate of between Rs 31.01 per km and Rs 37.30 per km while an additional expense of Rs 16.36 per km was to be borne by the department. The total cost of running a bus was in a range from Rs 46.08 to Rs 53.37 per km while the officers wrongly justified hiring of buses by projecting a saving of between Rs 2 and Rs 5 per km.

No importance was given to minimum hiring rate of Rs 19.50 per km fixed by government. While rates of hiring buses in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh were around this minimum rate, the report stated that the rates of successful bidders were not only “unreasonably higher” than rate mentioned, but also more than the rates prevailing in other states.

The addresses of the computers used for bidding, sought from various telecom companies, showed that the bidders made groups and submitted bids using the same computers. “The IP addresses, dates and time of submitting bids in case of most bidders match, establishing collusion,” the report stated.

It added that 26 bids were made from a computer booth in Panchkula, 20 from another booth and 11 from New Delhi, among others. Two bidders, one from Gurugram and another from Jhajjar, were found to have submitted their bids from the office of an Executive Engineer in Rohtak at the same time.

The bids were neither compared to 2015 bids when the lowest quoted rate for hiring buses was Rs 16.50 per km and were not cancelled though rates quoted were nearly double minimum rate determined by department.

Single bids were accepted in five depots and rates quoted were similar. The report said a technical expert had examined the website which offered online services for bids and found technical lacunae.

The report says... 

  • The higher authorities in the government have been presented wrong facts by the committee of the Transport Department constituted for tendering process
  • The addresses of computers used for bidding, sought from telecom companies, show that bidders made groups and submitted bids using same computers


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