The Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra government Wednesday took the first step towards reversal of an October 2019 order awarding a project for digitising Mumbai police’s official records to a private company owned by the son and wife of Mumbai Commissioner of Police Sanjay Barve.
The government’s action came a day after The Indian Express reported that the state’s home department, under the then Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, had on October 7, 2019, awarded the work to CrispQ Information Technologies Pvt Ltd. The firm had offered to provide services pro bono for five years.
When contacted, Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, told The Indian Express: “I have sought information in this regard. We’re looking into the matter.”
Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Sanjay Kumar said his department had sought an explanation from Barve’s office on the various issues raised in the newspaper report. A day earlier, he had said he wasn’t aware the company was owned by Barve’s son and wife.
“The state is planning to cancel the approval granted to the firm. Calling for explanation is the first step,” a senior official, who did not wish to be named, said.
The state home department had neither e-tendered the project nor called from proposals from other players, raising questions of arbitrariness in decision-making. Further, the project was awarded after the Model Code of Conduct for the Assembly polls kicked in on September 21 last year.
CrispQ was set up on December 10, 2014 by Sanjay Barve’s wife Sharmila Barve and their son Sumukh Barve, who hold 10 per cent shares and 90 per cent shares, respectively. Barve, who retires February 29, had on Tuesday said: “The software being offered is free. There is no question of any financial gains.” CrispQ’s Sumukh Barve said the firm had not received any undue favour from the government, and emphasised it was doing this work without any payment.
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