Pankaja Munde, accused of involvement in a 'scam' for purchases worth Rs 206 crore without inviting tenders claims that she tried to break contractors' lobby. But documents show that instead of breaking “the lobby” she pampered same old tainted contractors whose “rate contracts’ (RC) were expired long back. She didn’t explain how come issuing contracts to same old tainted people is going to break “the lobby”?.
The contracts of chikki and ayurvedic biscuits were awarded to “Suryakanta mahila audyogik sahakari santha” ( SMASS) and “Gowardhan ayurfarma “ respectively. SMASS’s RCexpired in June 2013 and Gowardhans’ in July 2014. There were also severe allegations against both the contractors, even then Munde awarded it to them in February 2015.
Before going to discrepancies in awarding contracts let us see what is Rate contract. A Rate Contract is an agreement between the purchaser and the supplier for supply of specified goods at Specified price and terms & conditions during the period covered by The Rate Contract (Normally it is always One year) . No quantity is Mentioned nor is any minimum drawal Guaranteed in the Rate Contract. The Rate Contract is in the nature of a standing offer From the supplier firm. But there is always limit on maximum purchase on Rate Contract
All government purchases in Maharashtra above Rs 3 lakh are mandated to be made after inviting tenders. This provision is there since 1993 . erlier purchase worth Rs 500/- at a time and Rs 20000/- of as ingle item in a year was allowed on rate contract . But above that tender process was mandatory. Gradually this limit and provision was increased to 3 lakh till December 2014.
As far as SMASS’s case is concerned in 2011 government decided that instead of sweet ground nut laddus chikki will be provided to children and pregnant ladies anganwadi in rural and urban areas. The rate given as per tender for both items was Rs. 1.27 for 10 gram i.e Rs 12.70 for 100 grams. This happened in June 2011. In February 2012 government suddenly reserved several items like mango pulp, pickles, amala- kokam sharbat including Chikki to be purchased from SMASS only. In august 2012 rate for chikki to be purchased was decided as Rs 21 /- per 100 grams i.e almost double the rate in 2011. Now how and why some items were reserved to be purchased from SMASS is matter of investigation. But when organization belongs to political person then nothing is impossible. Rates decided for SMASS were applicable to 30 June 2013 only.
Meanwhile two work order of supply of chikki were issued to SMASS on 29 April 2013 ,but despite of clear objections from commissioner , Adivasi welfare nashik , purchase orders were issued. Afterwards orders were stayed on 14 June 2013. On objections raised by then MLC Nitin Gadkari, Vinod Tawade and Ashish Shelar on 16th july 2013 Minister assured High level inquiry in this case. Accordingly One man High level committee of P.S Meena was appointed to inquire in to the matter on 20 November 2013 . But as the matter was High profile committee didn’t find time to enquire into it. Hence again extension was given to committee till May 2014. But what happened to committee report no one knows.
Interestingly inquiry committee on chikki was appointed on complaints of BJP members Gadkari, Tawade and shelar on 20 November 2013. But none of them followed it. Even after they came in to the power in October 2014 they didn’t do anything. Moreover one of their colleagues Pankaja Munde awarded contract to SMASS. What does that mean? .Allegations were baseless or contractor was powerful enough to silence everybody?
In Gowardhan biscuits case Rate contract was for three years i.e from july 2011 to july 2014 .Meanwhile therewere allegations of Supply after expiry date. But there was no inquiry ordered.Crores of rupees tenders were awarded to Gowardhan.
There are following possibilities in these cases .
1) Inquiry committee gave clean cheat to SMASS .but even then rate contract was expired and it was necessary to renew it.
2) ) Inquiry committee held SMASS guilty then question of Rate contract doesn’t arise at all
3) Even if there was a fresh Rate contract for year 2013-14 question of purchases more than 3 lakh was not allowed.
4) There were no fresh rate contracts on Governments official website. So purchases done without rate contract or tender are illegal.
5) Suppose if they feed, chikki or biscuits of entire year in a single month, what will happen to children?. But who cares?
There are several other allegations against her. But asking for the proof from others is not going to help her. One thing is clear as mandated by RTI act and other Government resolutions the documents related to all government affairs should be placed on website. Instead of doing that asking proof from others is raising doubts over her credentials.She also puts blame on her predecessors.However she should not forget that, they made mistakes and hence she is there. Hiding behind their sins is not a good idea.Instead of making fool of people, she should Come Clean in the Purchase affairs.
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