The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which is probing alleged irregularities in the conduct of the 2010 Commonwealth Games (CWG), has put under its scanner the purchase of around 15,900 chairs at exorbitant rates that cost the exchequer a loss of around Rs 3.6 crore.
The 15,900 chairs, meant for accommodating very important persons (VIPs) and media persons at five of CWG stadiums, were bought at a cost of around Rs 8 crore, according to a CBI source. "Out of the total cost paid for the 15,900 chairs, around Rs 3.6 crore was unwarranted and was a result of manipulation of the prices by the supplier with the collusion of the government officials concerned," said the source.
The firm, which had supplied the chairs, had offered to provide the chairs at reasonable costs at the start of the bidding process in December 2009 but later allegedly hiked them in an irregular manner, twice, according to the source.
A few Central Public Works Department officials had allegedly approved the irregular hikes at the time of the grant of the contract to the supplier in March 2010, the source added.
Initially, the supplier had offered to provide the chairs at a cost of Rs 3,130 per piece (for seating the VIPs) and Rs 3,310 per piece (for seating media persons), respectively. Later, the supplier hiked the costs twice citing allegedly irregular reasons and eventually supplied the chairs at Rs 5,362 and Rs 5,623, respectively.
"The irregular hikes caused a loss of around Rs 3.6 crore to the state exchequer," said the source. Besides, around 2,500 of the 15, 900 chairs, could not be put to use. "Around 2,500 chairs were removed from the seating areas of various stadiums as adequate space was to be kept aside to erect broadcasting and media platforms," said the source.