Vigilance department questions choice of firm for hiring experts.
New Delhi: The CBI has started a preliminary inquiry into the AAP government’s decision for selecting a company experienced in housekeeping, security and sanitation services to supply skilled manpower such as architects, MBAs, landscape artists, transport planners, urban designers, urban planners, industrial designers and graphic designers for the Public Works Department in the national capital.
The inquiry has been initiated on the basis of a letter written by the city government’s vigilance department to the superintendent of police, CBI, seeking a thorough probe into the matter. The letter said that the PWD engineer-in-chief (projects) was directed by his minister’s office to hire 24 professionals as creative team. The letter said that the applications were invited through an advertisement. Initially, the PWD minister’s office wanted to hire 16 professionals. “However, communication dated 25-2-2016 issued by the office of the minister (Mr Satyendra Jain), the requirement was projected as 24 professionals. The said communication also indicated the qualifications and ‘trending market rate’ from Rs 25,000 to Rs 1,00,000 per month. It was also specified in the said communication that the service provider shall be paid percentage rate service charge,” the letter said, a copy of which is in procession of this newspaper.The letter said there was no document on record to show if any market survey was done to reach the figures for “trending market rate.” “There is no analysis to justify the exact requirement in terms of numbers and categories.”
The vigilance department also referred to the February 25, 2016 communication which had quoted that the creative team would be hired through Architectural Firms. The letter said that two companies applied in response to the tender. One was an architectural firm — RSMS Architects Pvt. Ltd, and the other was M/s Soni Detective and Allied Services Private Limited. Out of the two, M/s Soni was finally selected, which was not an architectural firm.
It said “Records reveal that this (firm’s) work mainly involved hiring of data entry operators, stenos, peons, messengers, drivers, security guards, diary dispatchers and sweepers etc and not highly skilled professionals as needed for the creative team. Further, the bid document submitted by M/s Soni in response for creative teams reveals that it had expertise mainly in housekeeping, integrated facility management and cleaning services.”
“Therefore, any agency which specialised in housekeeping, security and sanitation services was selected for supplying skilled manpower,” it said.
The vigilance said the supply of manpower (professionals) through outsourcing agency was not justified when this option was costing more because of payment of service charges to the outsourcing agency. “Availability of such supplier of qualified manpower in the market presently is questionable.”
The letter pointed out that earlier, it was decided with the approval of the minister that all expenditure would be booked against ongoing project of Elevated Corridor for Barapullah Phase-III.
“Later on, it was decided that the expenditure shall be initially chargeable to c/o 1,000 mohalla clinics. Subsequently, again the expenditure of the creative team to contingency of unrelated project needs to be examined…The route of charging expenditure against contingency of unrelated project is questionable.”
The vigilance also pointed out that the original September 1, 2015 communication from the minister’s office and preliminary estimate for the work stated that the idea was to hire the best brains from premier educational institutions.