CAG has found corruption in Metro Bhavan tender process: Cong

Mumbai, Jan 16 (PTI) The Congress on Thursday claimed the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has found its allegation of corruption in the tender process of Rs 1,000- crore worth Metro Bhavan project as 'correct' and called for staying the work.

The party, now a constituent of the Shiv Sena-led government in Maharashtra, accused the previous Devendra Fadnavis government of involvement in corruption.

'The complaint filed by the Congress with the CAG against the corruption in the tender process of the Metro Bhavan at Aarey Colony has been found to be correct, once again exposing the deep-rooted tender management racket in the Fadnavis government,' a statement quoted Maharashtra Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant as saying here.

Sawant accused the previous Fadnavis government of running a tender management 'racket' by allegedly ignoring, bending and even systematically framing new rules so that tenders of major projects can be allotted to a select few contractors.

'The corruption in contracts of the Rs 14,000 crore of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana in Navi Mumbai and the Metro Bhavan were financially linked,' he said.

Sawant said as part of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, the City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) was to build 89,771 houses in Navi Mumbai.

The Rs 14,000-crore project was split into four different contracts and clauses of the tenders were framed such that select four players bagged the contract.

'A fifth company was asked to fill the tender to show there was a proper competition among the bidders after the Congress party filed RTI raising some queries,' Sawant said.

'But his bid was cancelled subsequently and to reward the company for its help it was decided to offer it the Metro Bhavan's contract,' Sawant alleged.

Sawant said the Congress had complained about this 'scam' to the Prime Minister's Office as well as the Principle Accountant General on September 6 last year.

He alleged that 13 tender conditions were 'tweaked' to help the company get the Metro contract.

'The CAG has found the allegations of the congress party credible after conducting an inquiry and trashed all the explanations offered by MMRDA,' Sawant alleged.

Sawant said among other things, the CAG has objected to the experience criteria not being clearly defined and moreover the project being highly complex in nature, strict eligibility criteria was required.

He said, according to the CAG, the prospective bidders were not aware with the frequent changes in scope of work, rates of non-listed items showing inadequate preparedness for tendering of such a big project.

The CAG, Sawant added, has said that the scope of project was not finalised before tendering and that the changes were made on the advice of participating bidders which was not an ideal condition for a transparent bidding.

Further, by allowing change in eligibility criteria as per the wish of bidders chances of cartelisation by few bidders were increased, Sawant said.

'All these objections/observations of CAG indicate that the entire process was a model of corruption. It is very much clear that the Fadnavis government is involved in this massive scam,' Sawant said.

'Hence, the Congress party demands to stay these projects and inquiry be conducted,' he said, alleging the then CMO was directly working in collaboration with the senior officers of MMRDA and CIDCO. PTI ENM RSY RSY