Transport department awarded fitness test contract without inviting bids: Cops

In a status report filed before a city court, the Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) of the Delhi Police said the Transport department of the Delhi government had awarded a contract for conducting a crucial vehicle fitness test to a private firm without inviting tenders. No commercial vehicle can enter Delhi without passing this fitness test.

Police claimed that the contract was awarded to the firm on a nomination basis with the approval of the Delhi Cabinet, and file notes on record indicated that approval for the nomination was given by the Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and then Transport Minister Arvinder Singh Lovely.

"It is apparent from the available record supplied by the Transport department that no tenders/bids were called. The inquiry revealed that the operation and maintenance of the above test lane was allotted to ESP India Pvt Ltd on nomination basis by Transport department with the approval of the Council of Ministers," the report says.

The report was filed on Monday before Special Judge Sangeeta Dhingra Sehgal, on a complaint by RTI activist advocate Vivek Garg alleging corruption in the award of contract for automated vehicle inspection and certification lanes for commercial vehicles and implementation of third-party inspection unit for testing CNG vehicles.

The report says the company was fraudulently given advance payment for construction of eight test lanes, even though only two lanes had actually been constructed and are in use.

"In July 2008, the department proposed eight additional lanes with an estimated cost of Rs 6.45 crore. However, the department later proposed four lanes and placed the order in September 2008 at a total cost of Rs 3.01 crore. The department proposed another four test lanes at total cost of Rs 3.01 crore. It has been observed that the purchases were made by splitting the work to avoid the necessity of obtaining the sanction of higher authority and money for installation of eight additional test lanes was disbursed by Transport department in advance in 2008," the report says.

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