A Srinagar court on Saturday orders Crime Branch to investigate alleged malpractice in the tendering process of DI Pipes at Jal Shakti Department, PHE Kashmir and submit the full report by or before May 10 this year.
The court has specifically asked the investigation agency to see whether Maneesh Kumar Senior vice president (marketing) of Jindal Saw Limited has been impersonated as director of Di Spun Pipe Research and Development Association, a non-government company, to influence a bidding process or not.
The court has also asked the Crime Branch to look if Development Commissioner (works) UT level purchase Committee has failed to take action for the violation of the code of integrity of the bid process.
The order was issued by the second Additional Munsiff Srinagar while hearing a petition filed by a local resident Ghulam Qadir Mir, through his advocate Malik Fahad ul Haq. The complainant has alleged discrepancies in the bidding process at Jal Jeevan Mission.
According to reports, Jindal Saw Limited, Iron and steel mills company, is one of the participants in the bidding process.
The complainant has alleged that Maneesh Kumar, Senior vice president (marketing) of the company has committed bid-rigging by impersonation as director of DISPUN Research and Development Association and through fraud and misrepresentation has attempted to compromise the entire bidding process in favor of his company. The complainant has also accused the Development Commissioner (works) UT level purchase Committee violating of the code of integrity of the tender.
The court in its order has said, “…the matter in hand, the same needs to be investigated/enquired into before issuing any process in the matter against the non-applicants/ accused persons. As such the issuance of process in the matter is postponed and the matter is entrusted to the SHO P/S Crime Branch Kashmir for a detailed inquiry/investigation, especially to determine as to if accused no. 1 impersonated as Director of DI SPUN Research and Development Association and whether accused no 2 (Development Commissioner (works) UT level purchase Committee )has failed to take action for violation of Code of Integrity of the bid process, in terms of section 202 Cr. P.C and for submission of a detailed report before this court by or before the next date of hearing, which is fixed on 10.05.2022.”
Earlier, the same complainant had approached office of the Chief Engineer Kashmir PHED Department Srinagar, Jal Shakti Department PHE Srinagar with an application under RTI. The applicant has sought answers to several questions about the bidding process. One of the key questions was whether the approach by DISPRDA can be classified as an attempt of ‘hijacking’ and ‘big rigging ‘ of Jal Jeevan Mission Tenders and falls under the subject of a violation of the ‘code of integrity?
The applicant has alleged that a letter issued by the DISPRDA to the office of Chief Engineer Kashmir PHED Department Srinagar, Jal Shakti Department PHE Srinagar, was an attempt to highlight issues with regard to its rival companies with an intention to ensure that such companies do not qualify to participate in any tender being the department.
He has further alleged that DISPRDA behind the veil of a research association is trying to portray the role of a third-party monitoring agency and trying to influence the department with regard to the selection of vendors and other government authorities for specific vested interest third party.
Interestingly, the letter of DISPRDA has been signed by one Muneesh Kumar claiming to be the Director of the association and according to the complainant, the same Muneesh Kumar is also the senior vice president of marketing at Jindal Saw Limited as reflected by the website. Maneesh Kumar is also a director of the Jindal Fitting Limited, an associated company of Jindal Saw limited.
The applicant, in his RTI application, had asked the department whether for adopting such aforesaid practice, Jindal Saw limited should be disqualified from participating in any of the tenders in the score alone?
After not getting a response up to his satisfaction from the department, the applicant has approached the court with a criminal complaint against the Senior vice president (marketing) Jindal Saw Limited and the concerned government department, Development Commissioner (Works) UT level purchase Committee.
(With media inputs)