SRINAGAR:  The sleuth of the Anti-Corruption Bureau on Wednesday filed a case against officers of the Public Works Department Jammu and a contractor for abusing their official position and violating procedural formalities in inviting tenders for road construction work.

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A spokesperson in a statement said that the case was registered following a verification conducted by the ACB based on a complaint alleging that contractor Avikash Choudhary, in collaboration with concerned engineers of PWD Division-III Jammu and others, manipulated to secure the contract for upgrading the road from Lohri Chak to Chakrali via Sohagini in block Marh under NABARD by submitting the lowest rates for the contract.

The statement further reveals that all clauses of the tender were violated on the ground, and the work has not been executed, resulting in a loss to the government exchequer. “It was found during the verification that an item was not included in the Detailed Project Report (DPR) while the base course was advertised to facilitate the contractor in securing the contract.

“The officials prepared the advertised rate list by including the base course, which was not part of the DPR. It was discovered during the verification that the contractor quoted a rate of Rs 4.30/sqm for Bituminous Macadam (BM) against the advertised rate of Rs 430/sqm and Rs 0.50/kg for reinforcement of RCC work against Rs. 60/kg.”

It was also noted that the rates quoted by the contractor were unreasonably low and impractical. “The contractor did not carry out these unreasonably low-rate items, with the allotted amount being Rs 82,775/- against the advertised amount of Rs 82,77,500/-. It was found from the advertised rates that the rate quoted for 25mm OGPC (Open Graded Premix Carpet) was Rs 270/sqm and for 50mm Bituminous Macadam was Rs 430/sqm, but the contractor quoted a rate of Rs 4.30/sqm for 50mm Bituminous Macadam (BM) and Rs 275/sqm for 25 mm OGPC.”

The statement also highlights that the concerned officials, namely Bikram Singh, the then Executive Engineer, and Gurcharan Singh, the then AEE, in collaboration with the contractor, facilitated the release of the performance security/additional security deposit kept for unbalanced bidding, which was supposed to be released after the successful completion of the work.

“Furthermore, it was revealed during the verification that the then Executive Engineer and then AEE recommended post facto sanction for an additional cost of Rs 86,88,925/- against the original allotment of Rs 1,82,89,075/-. Subsequently, the then Chief Engineer issued post facto allotment/approval for the already executed excess work amounting to Rs 86,88,925/- by violating procedural formalities, rather than inviting tenders for the same.”

The statement concludes that the discrepancies regarding rates, excess quantity, and other violations of allotment/agreement were not brought to light by then Head Draftsman Sundesh Kumar Kotwal & Sumer Singh, as well as Draftsman Shiv Darshan Singh Jamwal and Atul Sharma.

“The concerned officials, by abusing their official positions and colluding with the beneficiary contractor, conferred undue pecuniary benefits upon him for their ulterior motives. Further investigation into the case is ongoing.”


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