Huge scam in Education department alleged, Gauhati HC issues notice
BY OUR STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, Oct 14: Hearing a suo moto PIL taken up by the Gauhati High Court following complaints of alleged anomalies and misuse of public money during procurement of ladies bicycles by the Directorate of Secondary Education, Assam, the High Court on Wednesday issued a notice to the State government.
Hearing the PIL, a division bench of Chief Justice (Acting) K Sreedhar Rao and Justice PK Saikia also issued notice to the Chief Secretary, Principal Secretary, Director of Secondary Education, M/s SK Bikes Pvt. Ltd, M/s Seth Industrial Corporation, M/s Hero Ecotech Pvt Ltd and Vishal Cycle Pvt Ltd.
It may be mentioned that letters were even addressed to the Prime Minister, the Chief Minister of Assam, the Ministry of Home Affairs, the CBI Director and the CVC, alleging fraud and corruption taking place in the Directorate of Secondary Education in Kahilipara, in the procurement of ladies bicycles worth Rs. 80-90 crores in the year 2014, and again floating a tender fixing the last date of submission as 19.06.2015 with same eligibility criteria, even after knowing the fact that the eligibility criteria was attracting only one company, M/s SK Bikes Pvt. Lid., Ludhia while leaving out other companies. Leading bicycle manufacturers Like Hero, Atlas, BSA, Hercules and Avon have not participated in the tender.
It has been alleged that there is nexus between the Education department and the firm. The Education minister, his son and a few department officials had also hiked the price by 38% compared to other states.
The complaint has enclosed some documents where the same supplier, M/s SK Bikes Pvt. Ltd., Ludhia, and M/s Seth Industrial Corporation, Ludhia have quoted the rates of the same ladies bicycle to the Gujarat Rural Industrial Marketing Limited (GRIMCO) as Rs. 2,489.68/- per bicycle and within two months the same was quoted as Rs. 2,780/- per bicycle to the Director of Secondary Education, Rajasthan and Rs 3,425/- per bicycle to Assam.
Bicycle manufacturing companies did not participate in the tendering process in 2014. Again in May, 2015, the tender was floated fixing the last date as 19.06.2015 with same eligibility criteria, which ebled only one company to participate. On 16.06.2015, the Minister and others met and decided the issue beforehand, raising questions how the Department pre-assessed the precise situation on 16.06.2015 which was going to take place on 19.06.2015.
The complaint also stated that the freight difference on each bicycle from Ludhia to Rajasthan/Gujarat and Ludhia to Assam is Rs 50. Considering and calculating the purchase of 2,00,000 ladies bicycles by Assam, the freight and price difference shows a huge impact of corruption and in comparison with the supply made to Gujarat, the difference comes to Rs.595/- per bicycle and Rs. 11,90,00,000/- (in total).