Congress alleges Rs 8,935.61-crore scam in allotment of e-tendering contracts in Madhya Pradesh

Indore (MP): The Congress on Wednesday alleged a “Rs 8,935.61-crore scam” in allotment of e-tendering contracts under the BJP’s watch in Madhya Pradesh, which is going to polls on November 28.

Announcing that the Congress would probe the “irregularities” if voted to power, the party’s chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the estimate of the scam could go up to “Rs 50,000 crore” after investigation. For its part, the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) said the matter was being investigated by the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the state police. Surjewala claimed the Congress had in its possession documents pertaining to the alleged irregularities.

“We have documents of the e-tendering scam in which private companies were given contracts worth Rs 8,935.61 crore for various schemes of irrigation and other departments. Prima facie, the scam began in 2014,” Surjewala told reporters here. He alleged that the incumbent BJP government had hired a private company to develop an e-tendering software, which he said was “tampered with” to lower the value of the online bids quoted by select private companies so as to bring it on par with the lowest bids. “These firms were then allotted the big-ticket government contracts,” he alleged.

Surjewala said, “The value of the scam which has been executed through collusion between the government machinery and private companies could cross Rs 50,000 crore after a probe”. He said the role of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and state Chief Secretary BP Singh was also suspect in the matter. “The Congress was apprehensive that the computer hard disk and other evidence might be destroyed,” he alleged. Terming the alleged scam “an organised loot of public resources”, the Congress leader said his party would constitute a “public commission” to probe the matter.

Responding to a query, Surjewala defended the Congress’ poll promise to not allow holding of Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) shakhas in government premises and cancel the order that allowed officers and employees to participate in shakhas. “Congress feels that if a political organisation (Sangh) is allowed to use government offices then similar permissions will have to be given to the bodies associated with the Congress, the Left and other parties, which won’t be proper,” he said. The Congress leader also dismissed Dassault Aviation CEO Eric Trappier’s statement, denying any wrongdoing in the Rafale deal.

The Congress has been alleging “corruption and cronyism” in the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets from France. The party has been targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his “industrialist friends” over the Rafale deal, calling it a “scam”. The Centre has already denied the allegations of price escalation and favouritism. When contacted, Madhya Pradesh BJP spokesman Anil Soumitra said the e-tendering matter was being investigated by the Economic Offences Wing (EOW). “We are already probing the matter through the EOW. If Congress is dreaming of coming to power, let them also investigate the matter,” he said.



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