Bhopal: The state culture department is in dock for committing financial irregularities. To oblige BJP Rajya Sabha MP Satyanarain Jatia, the department extended the contract awarded to a company owned by his brother Hariom Jatia for one year to four years without inviting fresh bids.
The company called, Excellency Time Private Limited, was awarded contract for arranging performances of artistes in functions organised by department in 2013. After the expiry of the contract, the department did not invite fresh bids. Instead, the contract was extended for a year and this continued till June 2017. In the period of four years, crores of rupees were paid to the company.
No attempt was made to verify the authenticity of the bills presented by the company. The company billed different amounts for arranging performances of the same singers. According to the contract, the company was to be paid 15 percent of the amount as fee.
Akshay Singh, director, culture said that the company’s services were not used for inviting artistes after he took charge. He said that he would be able to provide more information only after seeing the relevant files.
Hariom Jatia said that it is for the culture department to explain why his company’s services were taken after the expiry of the contract. He claimed that this was being done in other cases too and that the contracts of many companies were extended in a similar manner. As for the difference in the amounts paid to the same singers, he said that it depends on the venue of the function. “If artistes are required to travel by road, they charge more,” he said.
Jatia said that his company had lost a considerable sum of money paid to artistes as advance for performing at functions that were later cancelled. He said that he has stopped working for the department. “Well-known artistes do not want to come to Madhya Pradesh. It was due to my personal relations and the reputation of my company that they had agreed,” he said.
Same singer, different payments
Anuradha Paudwal was paid Rs 4.95 lakh for performing at Bhojpur on Nov 25, 2016. She was paid Rs 16 lakh for a function at Bhedhaghat, Jabalpur, on May 15, 2017 and Rs 9 lakh for the one at Sultanpur on September 30, 2017. Alka Yagnik was paid Rs 30 lakh for performing at a function in Maheshwar on March 4, 2017. She was paid Rs 24.59 lakh for function in Shivpuri on March 30, 2017. She was paid Rs 22 lakh for the function at Jamboori on Dec 4, 2016 and Rs 16.66 lakh for the one at Bhojpur.