The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Nets bite air force

New Delhi, May 7: A day after former disinvestment minister Arun Shourie landed in the Centaur hotel deal dock, the Indian Air Force finds itself entangled in mosquito nets.

The report of the comptroller and auditor general that criticised the manner of sale of two Mumbai-based government hotels has pointed out that the IAF favoured Reliance Industries with two orders to buy mosquito nets that were issued without competition.

The IAF placed orders in October 2002 and March 2003 for 1.12 lakh and 55,000 round-mesh polyester mosquito nets at a total cost of Rs 8.30 crore.

The IAF’s Nagpur-based maintenance command bought mosquito nets at a total cost of Rs 5.57 crore from Reliance on a single tender basis by issuing a 'proprietory article certificate' with incorrect information.

This was followed up by another order of Rs 2.73 crore on the same firm at a higher unit price again on single tender basis, the report said. 'Requirements were arbitrarily inflated, showing undue indulgence to the firm, and resulting in excess procurement of mosquito nets valued at Rs 3.78 crore,' the CAG report said.

'Audit scrutiny revealed that the procurement from the firm (Reliance Industries Limited) was in violation of the rules and procedures underlying public tendering and in disregard of the guidelines of the Central Vigilance Commission.' It said the IAF maintenance command assessed the requirement of 65,000 nets in May 2002. But it placed orders in October 2002 with Reliance Industries for 1,12,000 nets 'resulting in over provisioning of 47,000 nets costing Rs 2.34 crore.

'Again, while the subsequent periodical review conducted in November 2002 indicated the requirement at minus 21,101 nets, headquarters maintenance command placed the repeat order in March 2003 with Reliance for 55,000 nets, resulting in over provisioning of 76,101 nets costing Rs 3.78 crore', the CAG report noted.

Reliance officials have refused to comment.

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