The five per cent benefit to Tekawade caused the State exchequer Rs 55 lakh, in addition to the Rs 9 crore spent on the workbooks. She also did not mention why all the GRs have not been published on the State government’s web site.
Seema Doke, a Desk Officer with the Women and Children Welfare Department, stated, “The purchase is in accordance with the rates fixed by the Industries Department and the Union government. The Suryakanta Sahkari Mahila Sanstha was given the contract to provide chikki as per the rates fixed by the State’s Industry Department. The rates for water filters were also fixed by the Industry Department.”
However, the Express report published on June 24 had pointed to the process followed while awarding the contract. Doke admitted that the e-tendering was mandatory for items worth over Rs 3 lakh. However, she argued that e-tendering was not essential for the items available under the rate contract system. “A GR dated April 1, 2015 states that e-tendering is mandatory for purchase of items costing more than Rs 1 crore even though rate contract system was available for the items. Our purchase was done for the year 2014-15 (before the GR was issued),” she said.
Doke’s statement underpins several discrepancies. Then Chief Secretary, J S Sahariya, had issued a circular to all departments in 2014 stating that rate contract system has been abolished following an order by the Bombay High Court’s Nagpur bench. Radhika Rastogi, then Commissioner of Central Sales and Purchase Organisation (CSPO) in an order dated June 6, 2013 had clearly mentioned that the NGO Suryakanta could not be awarded the contract for providing chikki on the basis of rate contract system. A tender process should be invited for awarding the contract.
Following the report, the Congress put up a sharp attack against Munde. State Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant filed a complaint with the Anti Corruption Bureau demanding a thorough investigation into the case. Former Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan demanded an investigation by the CBI into the matter. “Somebody will have to explain. This is very serious and suspicious. This is a complete fraud. Rate contract limit is fixed for the amount up to Rs 3 lakh. I am aware about this. But above Rs 3 lakh, one has to follow e-tender process,” he said.
NCP spokesperson Majeed Menon asked what was the hurry in issuing 24 GRs in one day. “It is open that the intention behind doing this was not clear,” he said.
CM Devendra Fadnavis did not react on the issue. BJP treasurer Shaina N C said Opposition had levelled charges to be in the news.