DAYS AFTER Income Tax searches on the premises of the aides of Chief Minister Kamal Nath, the economic offences wing of MP Police Wednesday registered an FIR in connection with ‘e-tendering scam’ during the BJP rule.
The alleged scam involved manipulation of the e-procurement portal to change the bid price to ensure that tenders were awarded to select companies. The FIR has been filed against directors and marketing representatives of five companies, and unknown employees of government departments, bureaucrats and politicians.
Special DG (EOW) K N Tiwari said the FIR concerns tampering of the portal between January and March 2018. He said the agency registered the FIR after it got sufficient evidence.
The FIR has been registered under IPC sections related to criminal conspiracy, forgery and cheating, and Section 66 of the Information Technology Act and Sections 7 and 15 (2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Three tenders of Madhya Pradesh Jal Nigam, two tenders of Public Works Department, two tenders of Water Resources Department, two tenders of the state road development corporation and one tender of project implementation unit of PWD were tampered with in the first three months of 2018.
The alleged beneficiaries of the tampering were construction companies in Hyderabad, Mumbai, Vadodara and Bhopal. Directors of a Bhopal-based software company, unnamed employees of Madhya Pradesh State Industrial Development Corporation (MPSIDC), unnamed employees of five government departments, a Bengaluru-based software company and another Indian MNC software company and unnamed politicians and bureaucrats have been mentioned in the FIR.
After initiating the preliminary probe last year, the EOW sent some discs for analysis to Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In). Tiwari said the FIR was registered after getting a positive report from the Delhi-based agency in December. The agency confirmed that tenders had been modified after the tender process was over.
The BJP alleged that the FIR was lodged only because the I-T searched people close to the chief minister. “Why did the Congress government think of it only after recovery of cash, arms, animal hides and liquor bottles from aides of the CM,” BJP vice-president and MLA Rameshwar Sharma asked. Leader of Opposition Gopal Bhargava said he had not heard of an FIR against “unknown politicians and bureaucrats”.
The Congress, however, dismissed the allegation, saying the FIR was lodged after the agency got sufficient evidence. In its manifesto for the assembly elections, the Congress had promised an inquiry into the scam.