The report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), tabled in the Punjab assembly on Friday, said a `36-crore Bell helicopter was purchased by the Punjab civil aviation department by flouting the rules.
“The system of open competitive bidder should be adopted as far as possible. But the records of the director, civil aviation, show that in disregard of the rules and without any formal inquiry by the Punjab government, four helicopter companies submitted suo motu for different makes at different points of time through their representatives and agents. The civil aviation minister (in November 2012) constituted a committee under the chief secretary to look into modalities for procuring a helicopter for VVIPs.”
It adds that the committee after examining the proposals, recommended that a Bell 429 helicopter be considered in the meeting of the cabinet sub-committee on civil aviation affairs. The cabinet sub-committee, under chairmanship of the chief minister, met and granted a post-facto approval for seeking quotations from sole authorised suppliers/agents and gave its approval to purchase a Bell 429 and directed the chief secretary to negotiate the price, which worked out to be `36.6 crore.
The adviser, civil aviation, in reply, said the selection was made after comparison with available machines and no loss to the state exchequer. The CAG has termed the reply unacceptable saying the purchase was done in a non-transparent manner.
“The bids were received at different points of time for different types of helicopters and hence were not technically or financially comparable to determine whether the most economical and appropriate proposal was chosen. So, there was disregard to rules,” it says.