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Stationary scam: ACB raids Kota Open University, seizes supplies

‘Scam estimated to run over 5 crores’

Udaipur : Acting on a complaint of massive irregularity and corruption related to a tender regarding study material supplies , the sleuths of the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) conducted a sudden raid at the stationary printing and distribution cell of the Vardhaman Mahaveer Open University (VMOU) in Kota on Thursday. Prima Facie assessment of the paper quality used in the study material, books and complete stationary printed for the year 2015 , was found to be below standard of the set parameters. ACB has seized the complete supplies from the university godown which will now be sent for an FSL examination. The original tender documents, terms and conditions, samples submitted by various bidders during the tender process etc have been taken in the ACB custody. The scam is estimated to run over 5 crores, sources claimed.

“ A complaint was received at the ACB headquarters related to irregularities in award of a tender for publishing complete stationary for the year 2015. A work order of Rs 10 crore was granted to a firm called Saraswati Enterprises even though it didn’t qualify the bidding eligibility” Additional SP (ACB) Thakur Chandrasheel  told Udaipur Kiran. As per the bidding norms only those firms having an annual turnover of over 12 crore could participate whereas the turnover of Saraswati Enterprises ranged somewhere between 3-4 crores. The committee involved in the tender process overlooked objections raised by other bidders and granted the work order of stationary supplies to the firm for the year 2015. The work order included printing complete course material for students registered for various graduate and post graduate courses covered under distant education, prospectus, admission and examination forms etc.

“The firm overlooked the quality parameters and supplied substandard materials. Instead of A-class paper, the quality used had been that of ‘C’ class. Similarly, instead of ‘perfect binding’ of books, the supplier had delivered ‘stapled’ material” Thakur said. In this way, the material printing that would have cost 4 to 5 rupees was reduced to 50 paise and the paper cost from 16 paise was cut down to 8 paise benefitting the printer firm largely and causing great loss to the state treasury. The technical committee didn’t take appropriate measures to quality check the delivered supplies and in this way the entire work order payment of 10 crore was released. “ We are in the process of role identification to determine who all were benefitted by the award of the work order. The technical and tender committee seems to be at fault. The seized material would be sent for FSL examination to assess their quality. We will also seek details from the income tax and sale tax department to verify the turnover of the defaulter firm to ascertain whether it was qualified for bidding as per the university norms” Thakur said.

VMOU- Thousands of students are enrolled for various graduate and post graduate courses in humanities, commerce, library science, informatics  under distant education scheme from this public institution popularly known as Kota open university. It has regional centers at Ajmer, Bikaner, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Kota, Udaipur and Bharatpur.

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