The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has declined to share action taken on a letter written by Congress leader Ajay Singh to Prime Minister Narendra Modi alleging large-scale corruption through e-tendering in Madhya Pradesh citing a provision of RTI Act that bars disclosure of “third party” information.
The Leader of Opposition in Madhya Pradesh had in July written the letter to Modi asking him to conduct an inquiry into the e-tendering scam of Madhya Pradesh either by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) or under the supervision of the Supreme Court.
Anti-corruption activist Ajay Dubey had sought details of action taken a report by the PMO on the Congress party leader’s letter.
“It is stated that the information sought by you attracts the provisions of Section 11 of the RTI Act,” it said in reply to the RTI query filed by the activist.
The PMO said that the response will be provided after the due process as envisaged in Section 11 of the Act is completed, it said.
The Section 11 mandates that if a Central Public Information Officer of a department concerned intends to disclose the information, to invite the third party to make a submission in writing or orally, regarding whether the information should be disclosed, and such submission of the third party shall be kept in view while taking a decision about disclosure of information.
The Congress leader had claimed that e-tendering scam is bigger than the ‘Vyapam’, referring to massive irregularities in state government jobs recruitment and selection in medical courses done by Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board or ‘Vyapam‘ in Hindi.
In his letter, the Congress leader has alleged that the electronic bidding process was manipulated to allow select firms, contractors or individuals to get the government works several crores in lieu of “benefits”.
He claimed that some senior officials of the state government including those at the level of principal secretary, secretary, chief engineer, and tender opening authority are involved in the scam.
“The e-tendering scam is referred to massive irregularities in grant of state government procurement and other works through a website developed by Tata Consultancy Service (TCS) and Antares system. Massive irregularities are suspected through the internal rigging of confidential data in the scam,” Dubey said.
He claimed senior state government officials are allegedly involved in the scam and did cover up.
The scam, came to light in May this year, after the Madhya Pradesh State Electronics Development Corporation, which hosts the online platform, officials said the BJP-ruled state government had in June recommended a probe by Economic Offences Wing into the irregularities.