BHUBANESWAR: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) which is probing into the sensational chit fund scam has encountered a mobility problem. For, the State Government has not been able to provide vehicular support to its Special Investigation Team (SIT) with private travel agents not showing any interest in renting their vehicles for use of the premier investigating agency.
So far, the efforts of the Home Department, which had floated a tender seeking bids from travel agents, have come a cropper.
In fact, after the first bid did not elicit any response, the Home Department has been forced to float a second tender.
The SIT, which is currently operating from the Bhubaneswar CBI office premises, has already taken over the cases from the Economic Offences Wing and State Police but its field investigation has not got off the ground yet.
The Home Department had sought six sport utility vehicles (SUVs)- preferably of Bolero and Sumo makes - for the day-to-day operation of the SIT. Each vehicle, non-AC and diesel-driven, must have seating capacity for eight persons, the tender specification said.
However, what is reported to have kept the local travel agents away is the rent rates prescribed by the State Government.
As per the tender norms, the contracted travel agent will be paid `16,000 a month for each vehicle towards hire charges. Diesel costs will be paid in actual while lubricants will be reimbursed as per government norms.
“The hire charges appear to be not-so-alluring for the travel agents for the vehicle has to be committed for at least 25 days a month. But that is the government prescribed rate and can not be changed,” said sources in the Home Department.
While hire charges are a reason, the sources added, travel agencies do not want to rent their vehicles to the police (CBI in this case).
For most, it appears to be too much of a professional risk.
As per the Home Department order, the Special Task Force of State Police had floated the first tender on July 2 seeking bids by
July 15. But with no response coming in at the first attempt, it went for a fresh tender on July 17 asking submission of bids by August 5.
In June, the national investigating agency registered 46 cases in connection with the chit fund scam whose tentacles had spread to three States.
Of those cases, 43 are in Odisha while the rest are in West Bengal and involve the Sharadha Group.