The Comptroller and Auditor General of India has raised doubts about the e-procurement process of tenders in Chhattisgarh between April 2016 and March 2017, when the Bharatiya Janata party government was in power, The Indian Express reported.
The auditor said that 477 bidders across 17 departments used 74 common computers for 1,971 tenders worth Rs 4,601 crore. This indicates that bidders and government officials were “in close touch” before the bidding process began, the Comptroller and Auditor General said.
The Chhattisgarh Infotech and Biotech Promotion Society Department had, under the Department of Information and Technology, set up a system to allocate work above Rs 10 lakh through tenders, Chhattisgarh Accountant General (Audit) BK Mohanty said.
The Comptroller and Auditor General tabled its report before the Chhattisgarh Assembly on Thursday, where the Congress is now in a majority following elections in December. It also said that the Income Tax Act was violated, as “multiple bidders with common email IDs and five tenders worth Rs 15.44 crore were given to ineligible contractors”. The report also said that only one of the 74 computers used for the process have been found.
The auditor added that 79 contractors used just two PAN cards, one for registration on the e-works website of the Public Works Department, and another generation of their vendor ID. This violates the Information Technology Act, which stipulates that one person can use only one PAN card. “[As many as] 25 of these 79 contractors were awarded tenders valued at Rs 209.50 crore,” the auditor added.
Further, 1,459 vendors used 235 common primary email-ids between November 2015 and March 2017 to generate their vendor IDs, the auditor said. It added that of this, one common email ID was used by a minimum of two vendors and a maximum of 309 bidders.
The Comptroller and Auditor General recommended that an investigation “from the vigilance angle” be conducted into the tender process.
Chhattisgarh government spokesperson Tarun Sinha said a meeting of concerned officials has been called, the Hindustan Times reported. “We have called a meeting of concerned officials of the departments which are under question,” he said. “Necessary steps will be taken after the meeting.”