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When will PMC act against officials involved in bid-rigging?

As reported by Hindustan Times on May 3 ‘Six PMC contractors fined Rs 3.57 crore,’ the Competition Commission of India (CCI) in its final order has imposed a fine of Rs 3.57 crores on six firms for colluding with Pune Municipal Corporation officials and undertook bid rigging while filing tenders for thermal composting garbage plants in 2014.

Updated: May 05, 2018 14:51 IST

By HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times Pune

The nexus between PMC officials and contractors for rigging the bids was exposed in detail by Hindustan Times in a series of reports in October 2017. (HT FILE PHOTO)

PUNE: Even as six contractors of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) have been fined a hefty Rs3.57 crore by the Competition Commission of India, PMC is yet to take action with regard to their alleged role in the bid-rigging scam.

As reported by Hindustan Times on May 3 ‘Six PMC contractors fined Rs 3.57 crore,’ the Competition Commission of India (CCI) in its final order has imposed a fine of Rs 3.57 crores on six firms for colluding with Pune Municipal Corporation officials and undertook bid rigging while filing tenders for thermal composting garbage plants in 2014.

The nexus between PMC officials and contractors for rigging the bids was exposed in detail by Hindustan Times in a series of reports in October 2017.

The Competition Commission of India conducted an enquiry on the basis of a complaint from Nagrik Chetna Manch, an NGO of alert citizen activists, and found that the civic contractors had indulged in bid-rigging in collusion with officials of the PMC.



The Competition Commission of India, in its November 2016 report named Sanjay Atmaram Gawade,assistant municipal commissioner, Ravindra Krishnanath Mulay, branch engineer and Suresh Jagtap,joint municipal commissioner, head of solid waste management department as the officials whose claims and involvement needed to be examined by the PMC.

The Competition Commission of India took the then municipal commissioner Kumar’s statements on oath and said it was not satisfied by the replies given by Kumar as he “did not address the relevant issues.”

It blamed PMC of “systemic failure” and said “the PMC and commissioner cannot run away from it though there is no direct involvement of the municipal commissioner in the tender process.”

The tenders pertained to seven thermal composting plants at various locations including Kharadi, Ghole Patil road and Peshwe Park, and were worth ₹14 crore. The CCI report said there was understanding “among the participants” to ensure that the tender went to Ecoman Enviro Solutions Pvt Limited.

The CCI report mentioned frequent telephonic conversations between senior civic officials and a director of Ecoman Enviro Solutions Pvt Limited, which won the bid. The report highlighted that a PMC computer was used for uploading tender documents, suggesting bid-rigging and ‘systemic failure’ in tendering process.

Claims of PMC officials need to be examined: CCI

Pune The claim of Pune Municipal Corporation(PMC) officials suspected of facilitating bid rigging, that they had to telephonically speak frequently with the directors of the Ecoman Enviro Solutions Pvt Ltd for official purposes, needs to be examined, the Competition Commission of India said in its report, last year.

The directors in question were Bipin Vijay Salunke and Parimal Salunke (executive director) of the firm Ecoman Enviro Solutions Pvt. Ltd, which won the bid.

During its investigations, the Competition Commission of India took the then municipal commissioner Kumar’s statements on oath and raised various questions regarding the tender process and his role. He was asked about senior municipal officers holding multiple telephonic conversations with the participants in the tender process till the date of filing the tenders; about the tender documents being uploaded from the municipal corporation’s IP address and other objectionable practices.

The Competition Commission of India was not satisfied by the replies given by Kumar and said that he “did not address the relevant issues.”

It blamed PMC of “systemic failure” and said “the PMC and commissioner cannot run away from it though there is no direct involvement of the municipal commissioner in the tender process.”

The investigative report said there is prima facie evidence that there was a meeting of minds among M/s Fortified Security Solutions, M/s Ecoman Enviro Solutions Pvt. Ltd., M/s Sanjay Enterprises and M/s Mahalaxmi Steels in response to tender numbers 34, 35, 44, 62 and 63 of 2014 floated by PMC during December, 2014 to March, 2015 “for inviting the turnkey contract for ‘Design, supply, installation, commissioning, operation and maintenance of municipal organic and inorganic solid waste processing plant(s)’.

The Commission noted that the facts on record indicate that the bidders “had colluded with each other to make Ecoman Enviro Solutions as the winner.”

The Competition Commission of India has accused the companies of bid rigging and collusive bidding and the possibility that some of the officials of PMC had facilitated the collusion to predetermine the winner of the bids, “which may be a case of corruption.”

The Competition Commission of India report said that the statements given by Suresh Jagtap, joint municipal commissioner, Sanjay Gawade , assistant municipal commissioner and Krishnanath Mulay, branch engineer, who were in touch with the contractor, did not match. The municipal corporation needs to examine the veracity of the statements, it said.

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