Fresh notices on favouring tenders during Covid

| | New Delhi
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Fresh notices on favouring tenders during Covid

Thursday, 18 April 2024 | Samar Pandey | New Delhi

After Dr RN Dass, the Delhi Government’s Vigilance Department has issued notices  to Central Procurement Agency’s (CPA) Head of Office (HOO) Dr Nitin Kumar and (SO) Urmila and Department of Consumers’ (DCA) District Health Society (DHS) SK Verma regarding ‘the management of the tenders in favour of a particular family in different company names’.

In a show-cause notice issued on Monday by the Vigilance Department, it said, Nitin Kumar, Urmila, and SK Verma were in the forefront in managing the tenders in favour of a particular family in different company names, and the conspiracy was hatched in the backdrop of COVID crisis. The COVID crisis was used as a reason and basis to swindle crores of Rupees from public exchequer, the notice alleged.

“Out of the 24 participants only 3 were technically qualified by the committees headed by R.N. Das (who was OSD to the then Health Minister Satyender Jain and Presently OSD to Health Minister Saurabh Bhardwaj). Qualified participants were, Pharma Surge Impex, Pharmatek India, and Tirupati Medilines Pvt Ltd, and the committee rejected bids of remaining 21 companies,” the show cause notice stated.

The vigilance department has sought a response from all of them within seven days and it said the conspiracy was hatched in the backdrop of Covid crisis. The pandemic was used as a reason and basis to swindle crores of rupees from public exchequer and all the procurements were done completely ignoring the procedure to be followed by the mandate issued by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

“Health department officials have used the context of Covid for enriching these private companies and intentionally allowed cartelisation among the companies,” said the notice, adding that Das chaired three committees for procurement of single use gloves, sterilised gloves and N-95 masks.

This tender was awarded based upon the circular of ICMR dated August 26, 2020 as per the supply order dated June 16, 2020 and June 6, 2020 for approximately Rs 49.50 crore. The logic that was given for SD Biosensor Healthcare Pvt Ltd is that it was recognised as a valid supplier for the RAT Kit.

According to the notice, this was for procurement of Rs 50,64,450 single use examination gloves. It is observed that the technical evaluation committee, the bid opening committee, financial approving committee and scrutiny of complaint committee are one and same under the Chairmanship of R.N. Das. Nitin Kumar, Urmila, and S.K. Verma were member of this committee.

The notice said that there is a cartelisation of medical procurement and supply by one family including brothers, wife, and son. All other companies who have participated in the tender were rejected for one or other reasons. There is no justification to mention OEM criteria for a product like gloves, non-sterilized gloves, N-95 mask, it said.

“It is observed that certain medical items were purchased so as to favour a few individuals and companies/ firms and thereby causing wrongful gain to these companies and wrongful loss to the Government,” the order a show cause notice copy said.

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