THE OPPOSITION Congress has alleged irregularities and sought a CBI inquiry into a bid by the Rajasthan government to procure an AgustaWestland helicopter. The BJP-led government has denied the charge and defended its move.
Calling the move “surprising”, Congress state president Sachin Pilot said that the Vasundhara Raje government has not learnt from its mistakes, and referred to a Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report for 2007-08 financial year. He also alleged that the online bid put up by the state government was against norms.
In its report, the CAG had pulled up the then Raje government for “avoidable expenditure” of Rs 1.14 crore in procuring an AW 109E chopper in 2004.
But asserting that there has been “no wrongdoing”, Civil Aviation director Kesri Singh told The Indian Express, “The entire process is online, and transparent. We have followed Rajasthan Transparency in Public Procurement Act, 2012, to the word.”
According to bid documents, the government had sought a new AgustaWestland 169 (AW 169) helicopter in November under a buyback plan for the old AW 109E Power Helicopter. The Notice Inviting Bid (NIB) was published online on November 21, and was available for download between November 22 and 5 pm on November 29. The bid title stated, “Procurement of a new AW 169 helicopter under buyback of AW 109E Power Helicopter.”