The basis for Delhi Law Minister Kapil Mishra’s plea to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal — to lodge an FIR against former CM Sheila Dikshit in an alleged scam — came weeks after a complaint by Citizen’s Front for Water Democracy was submitted to the DJB. The complaint alleged irregularities in the tender process, claiming tenders were scrapped four times over a period of 18 months. The final tender was awarded at considerably higher rates, it said.
Speaking on the alleged scam, S A Naqvi, a member of the Citizen’s Front for Water Democracy, said, “Tenders were invited five times and every time, the rate for hiring a tanker was hugely escalated…Due to this fraudulent activity, financial loss of approximately Rs 400 crore was incurred, and the amount may be much more due to the increase in prices of fuel and change in rate of wages”.
According to the complaint, on March 9, 2010, the DJB had invited tenders for hiring 450 GPS-enabled tankers for eight zones, across a period of seven years. The tender was discharged as the process was abandoned abruptly, it said.
Four months later, tenders were invited once again for 105 tankers for two zones, which would operate at a fixed rate for 1,200 km per month, stated the complaint.
“The contract was awarded to a company which offered the lowest bid — almost half of the DJB’s suggested price. Within six weeks, DJB canceled the award of work order and decided to re-invite the bid,” said Naqvi.
On September 21, 2010, tenders were invited for the third time for three zones, claimed the complaint. As the same company was the only and lowest bidder, the work advisory committee approved its prices and recommended it to the board, stated the complaint. The committee asked the DJB to award the work to the company at a total cost of Rs 168.30 crore for a seven-year period, but this tender was scrapped too, it said.
Tenders were invited for a fourth time, for the same three zones, on March 31, 2011, according to the complaint. A different company made the bid this time and their price “was much higher than what was offered” by the former bidder, it claimed, adding that the tender was scrapped once again.
“Tenders were invited for the fifth time on December 28, 2011 for five zones. However, this time, the conditions were relaxed further and undue advantages were favoured to companies/consortium, the period of service and operation was increased to 10 years, penalty charges were reduced, among other changes,” said Naqvi.
The fifth and final tender was awarded at Rs 637.23 crore for 385 tankers, for a period of 10 years, claimed the complaint.