15th March 2011
My father brought to my attention the following case (probably related to one of my close relatives, but the issue is generic and we should all be concerned). It appears that the place where IAS officers are taught the principles of integrity and good governance, is now perhaps itself involved in corruption.
These are the facts (through a formal RTI request, complete notings in the file have been obtained, so the position outlined below is based on direct knowledge):
1) LBSNAA invited tenders for a particular urgent work for its library.
2) The concerned officers, after technical evaluation, recommended that contract be awarded to the Lowest tenderer (L-1).
3) Notings in the file took U-turn and suddenly Director agreed to cancel the tender and invite fresh tender.
4) This time the tender introduced two conditions that specifically made L-1 ineligible:
a) Having known that L-1 has done similar work of automation of Library using RFID (Radio Frequency ID) in three major Libraries of India, the revised tender introduced a condition that only those who have done such work in five or more libraries are now eligible.
b) As a double precaution one more clause was added that only specified Software of a paticular company should be used.
This made it effectively a single tender suiting ONLY the favoured party. L-1 was disqualified despite a demonstrated, tremendous capability (if it is the person I think it was, then that person is an IIT alumni – one of the few who didn't migrate outside India in order to serve the country), and cheaper price. [Btw, from this person, I have heard innumerable stories of corruption in government offices]