The computers used by government officials in Chhattisgarh to upload details of e-tenders were also found to be used by bidders to submit their bids in many cases, suggesting collusion, a CAG report has said. The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) tabled a reporton `general, social and economic sectors’ for the year ended March 31, 2017 in the state Assembly Thursday. “Seventeen departments invited 1,921 tenders valued at Rs 4,601 crore during April 2016 to March 2017. As many as 74 computers were used to upload tender details (on government sites),” the CAG said. The BJP was in power in the state during this period.
“The same computers were also used by one or more bidders to upload their quotes for these 1,921 tenders,” Principal Accountant General (Audit) Bijay Kumar Mohanty said citing the report at a press conference here. As many as 477 bidders, who had used the same computers as used by concerned government officials, were awarded contracts worth Rs 961.26 crore, he said. “Surprisingly, the system which had inbuilt business intelligence module to block such violations, failed to detect such lapses until these were pointed out by the audit,” Mohanty added.
This indicated that bidders and the officials processing the bids were in close touch even before the bidding process started, he said. Further, several bidders used same email-ids, he pointed out, suggesting there were cartels of bidders. The Water Resources Department cancelled 10 tenders in 2016 on the ground of collusion between department officials and bidders after it was found that they had used the same computers, he said.
The department had requested, in April 2017, to the Chhattisgarh Infotech Promotion Society (CHiPS) to take preventive measures, however, no action was taken, Mohanty said. The CAG has recommended a time-bound investigation by an independent agency in this matter, he said.