The document reveals that the fake PSARA certificate was issued on October 2, 2019, which is a national holiday, Gandhi Jayanti
Contrary to the claims of the government of bringing transparency and accountability in allotment of work through e-tendering process, an alleged tainted bidder continues to rule the roost, probably in connivance with the members of tendering committees.
In a latest instance, Baglihar Hydro Electric Project (BHEP) under J&K Power Development Corporation floated tenders for providing Security Manpower Services for the 900 MW BHEP Chanderkote, in which L1 bidder, Unique Sanitation and Outsourcing Services was allotted the tenders, though in violation of set guidelines.
According to the documents available with The Typewriter, the bidder was patronized by the government in violation of the set rules and regulations.
“To accommodate the bidder in question, the JKPDC tailored the terms and conditions by excluding the provision of Private Security Agencies Regulation Act 2015 (PSARA), which otherwise is an important document for providing security services,” informed sources quoting from the documents. It further stated that through a circular No. Home/PSARA/35/2017, Dated 18-03-2019 issued by the Government of Jammu and Kashmir, Home Department made PSARA mandatory for all the Private Security Agencies working in Jammu and Kashmir.
However, to undermine the government circular of 2019 regarding mandatory PSARA, the JKPDC acted smartly and incorporated an alternative clause of Ex-serviceman card to get the tenders.
“To avoid any controversy over PSARA, which has been made an important document by the government of Jammu and Kashmir, the JKPDC smartly downplayed the government circular and excluded clause of PSARA from the terms and conditions of the tender document, only for the advantage of Unique Sanitation and Outsourcing Services, who has been caught producing fake and forged PSARA in past,” said sources, adding that even the ex-serviceman card produced by the firm is in violation of rules, because the firm is a proprietor, whereas the undertaking (which is not viable under rules) submitted by the firm shows partnership, thus making it contestable.
Sources stated that when competing bidders objected to this ‘illegitimate’ move of the department, their objections were not entertained.
In the past, Unique Sanitation and Outsourcing Services had applied for different tenders with the help of fake PASARA and due to nexus with tendering authorities, the firm was successfully allotted tenders.
“Unique Sanitation and Outsourcing Services submitted a copy of fake PSARA at PHE Mechanical Division (Udhampur), Government College of Engineering and Technology (Jammu) and Medical College (Rajouri), with forged signature of the Under Secretary, Home Department and when this matter was brought to the notice of the Home Department by competing bidders, instead of blacklisting the firm, no action was taken and the firm was given free hands to operate,” said sources in the department, adding that even then Under Secretary, Home Department Muzzafar Ahmed Wani admitted that he came across the fraud committed by the above said firm by forging his signatures on the certificate to get the tenders.
The document with The Typewriter further reveals that the fake PSARA certificate issued to the company bears the serial No. as Home/PSARA/01/2019/75, while the last number issued by the Home Affairs Department is 54. Besides, the date of issuance of the certificate is mentioned as October 2, 2019, which is a national holiday, Gandhi Jayanti.
Surprisingly, despite producing fake and forged documents in the tendering process, the firm has not been blacklisted, which is otherwise the rule.
“I am astonished to see how the proprietor of Unique Sanitation and Outsourcing Services managed to escape legal action, despite producing fake documents with forged signatures of the home secretary,” said a senior official in PHE Mechanical Division, wishing anonymity.
In addition to the violation of above stated guidelines, Unique Sanitation and Outsourcing Services in connivance of concerned officers at JKPDC and BHEP manipulated and eventually evaded tax by imposing Goods and Services Tax (GST) on the basic salary of the workers, instead of total amount.
“As per rules, GST is employed on the total amount, whereas the Unique Sanitation and Outsourcing Services imposed GST on the basic rates,” said sources, adding that under GST law, taxable value is the transaction value i.e. price actually paid or payable, provided the supplier and the recipient are not related, and price is the sole consideration.
Sources further stated that when the matter in the shape of representation was submitted before the chief office Baghilar, no heed was reportedly given to the representation and rather BHEP allocated order to the Unique Sanitation and Outsourcing Services, who had wrongly quoted the rates.
Despite being chairman of the tendering committee BHEP, Chief Engineer Baglihar (Electrical), Nasib Singh feigned ignorance and tried to dodge the query.
“It is better to contact the Executive Engineer (Xen) who had floated the Tender,” said Chief Engineer Nasib Singh.
On persistent questioning about the role of chairman tendering committee in allocating tender to ‘controversial’ bidder in violation of rules, Chief Engineer said that the L1 bidder has given clarification with regard to GST, claiming that it cannot be levied on total amount, despite the fact that last year as well same bidder was allocated tender on levying GST on total amount.
When asked about exclusion of PASARA clause from the terms and conditions of the tenders, Nasib Singh said “I have never seen any such circular of government about PSARA.”