The Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) investigation into alleged fraud in the tender process conducted in connection with the PMAY-Urban (Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana) scheme of the Aurangabad Municipal Corporation has revealed that the winning firm was allegedly financially incapable of executing the “big” project. The project entailed the construction of 40, 000 houses under PMAY and involved a government subsidy of Rs 1, 000 crore, ED sources said.
The PMAY scheme was to be implemented at seven plots / sites in Aurangabad. “The FIR was registered after the PMAY regulators identified the anomaly that the winning firm was not at all financially capable of implementing such a big project,” an official said.
“The tender was allotted to one Samarath Construction & JV, but out of the performance bank guarantee of Rs46.24 crore, they deposited a bank guarantee of only Rs88.60 lakh,” the official said.
Samarath Construction & JV is also accused of “subverting the due procedure by getting the extension of the initial tender for 19.22 hectares to 120 hectares without a fresh tender process,” the official claimed.
The ED probe is based on a case registered by the Aurangabad police against three bidders
The ED probe is based on a case registered by the Aurangabad police against three bidders – Samarath Construction & JV, Indoglobal Infrastructure Services and Jaguar Global Services and their respective partners – who allegedly filed their e-tenders from a single computer, which meant they had a common internet protocol (IP) address, which amounted to a bid to form a cartel, a practice restricted in the tender process. An IP address is a unique numerical identifier for each device or network that connects to the internet.
Searches were conducted at all the three tender applicants. “The firms were accused of forgery and formation of a cartel to illegally win the tender of the Aurangabad Municipal Corporation for constructing 40,000 PMAY houses,” the official said.
The ED has so far carried out searches at nine locations in Aurangabad, Pune and Akola as part of its probe
“It was revealed that in the case of the two e-tender applicants, who had lost, their major JV partners have completely denied their involvement in the tender process and are claiming forgery of their credentials by the L1 applicant,” the official said.
The ED has seized various incriminating documents, including the note-sheet of the tender file of the Aurangabad municipality, from the applicant. “Authorities of the Aurangabad Municipal Corporation are extending their cooperation and are sharing all documents in relation to this tender process,” the official said.
A case was registered on February 23 by the police on a complaint from the civic body’s Deputy Commissioner, Aparna Thete, who headed the PMAY department. The FIR mentioned 19 people associated with the three accused firms.
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