Delhi Lieutenant Governor, VK Saxena, has asked the Chief Secretary to take strict action against three officials of the Revenue Department of the Government of Delhi for gross misconduct in the allotment of tentage work worth Rs 23.40 crore for Kanwar Camps in the National Capital in the year 2022.
LG has recommended “strict action as per the relevant rules” against the then SDM (HQ), RR Singh, Section Officer, Sanjay Kumar Madan and Jr Assistant, Anurag, based on a factual report submitted by the Chief Secretary in the matter, wherein it was alleged that a scam had taken place in awarding the tentage work for Kanwar Camps by the Caretaking Branch of the Revenue Department, GNCTD.
LG Secretariat had received a complaint dated July 19, 2022, regarding the same and it was forwarded to the Chief Secretary with a direction to submit a factual report on the matter. Accordingly, the Chief Secretary, vide dated October 21, 2022, submitted the report to the LG.
The report categorically underlined the gross misconduct on part of these officials, as the work awarded to the bidders was modified without prior approval of the competent authority, thus causing a loss to the Government exchequer. The complainant alleged that ordinary tents were set up for Rs 3.45 per square foot, which was Rs 2.25 in the year 2019. It was alleged that waterproof tents could be used in place of ordinary tents at Rs. 3.45 per square foot.
Further, the Revenue Department ordered tin shade at Rs. 7.90 per square foot instead of pipe-structured steel hangers previously used at Rs. 3.90 per square foot. In addition, LED par can light were ordered at Rs.8 instead of halogen lights available for a meagre Re.1 per unit.
During the inquiry, the Revenue Department informed the DoV that the work order for hiring tentage and electrical items for Kanwar Yatra was, on the basis of extension, awarded to the L1 bidder, which was earlier given the contract in 2019. Kanwar Yatra was not organised in 2020 & 2021 due to COVID-19 Pandemic.
On July 1, 2022, the Revenue Department received a letter from the Chairman, Tirth Yatra Vikas Samiti, GNCTD, through the Minister (Law) to initiate the process for making arrangements regarding Kanwar Yatra. The Department assessed the need for setting up 181 Kanwar camps (172 Kanwar and 09 Security Camps) across the city for which the financial implications was assessed for Rs 23,40,15,481. Since the L1 bidder expressed his inability to execute the complete work alone, the work was distributed among the L2 & L3 bidders on the L1 rates.
The tentage and electric work was awarded to three vendors, namely Guptajee Tent Services Pvt. Ltd (L1), Mahalakshmi Light House (L2) and Ahuja Tents & Decorators (L3).
The Revenue Department stated that prior approval was not taken by the Caretaking Branch to include new items in the work order and they were presumably inserted in the final document by these 03 officers, who signed and certified the work order.
The DoV observed in its report that additional items like tin shade, side walls, LED lights, etc. were added in the work orders without the approval of the competent authority, which amounted to gross misconduct. Accordingly, major penalty proceedings were recommended against the three officials.
The DoV has also directed the concerned District Magistrate to conduct two verifications by different officials to ensure fair and neutral verification of the tentage work. The process of payment is yet to be started as no bill has been submitted by the vendors.
(with inputs from ANI)