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Anomalies in plane purchase denied

Bihar Chief Secy rubbished the charges that procedures were violated in the purchase of a King Air C90B aircraft.

india Updated: Sep 02, 2006 17:07 IST

Rubbishing the charge that procedures were violated in the purchase of a King Air C90B aircraft by the Bihar government during President's Rule, Bihar Chief Secretary GS Kang on Saturday, said the plane was bought in accordance with the rules.

"No rules or procedures were flouted. Nothing wrong has been committed in buying the aircraft. Moreover, the Principal Accountant General does not have the right to decide which aircraft the government should purchase and which not," he told reporters.

Referring to the charge that a commission of Rs 33 lakh was paid to Indamer, an agent of Raytheon, an American aircraft manufacturer, which was included in the cost of the flying machine, Kang said, in fact, instead of overspending it suggested saving by the state government.

"If we had bought the King Air C90GT instead of C90b, the government would have had to spend maybe Rs 100 lakh for 100 hours of minimum required training for pilots and engineers. In case of C90b, only Rs 5 lakh was spent towards the training as only five hours of it was required," Kang said.

Moreover, the chief secretary said the C90GT aircraft did not have the capacity to land at small airstrips in Bihar and could have landed only at Patna, Gaya, Darbhanga and Purnia airports and so was not suited to state's needs.

He was at Gaya to review the preparations of world famous 'Pitripaksha' fair, which begins in Gaya on September 5.

The principal accountant general, in his report, has observed that the purchase was not in conformity with the established procedure. 

The PAG had raised objection to the government not inviting tenders for the aircraft purchase, a violation of the Rule 30 of the Bihar financial rules which says Cabinet approval was required for waiver of the tender procedure.

PAG had also said the instructions of the Special Purchase Committee for carrying out technical and financial evaluation of competing brands, ascertaining the prices at which other state governments and agencies had procured the King Air C90B and the winning curve of the aircraft in global bids, were not followed.

The audit noted that while the King Air C90B aircraft cost the government USD 2,765,000, the superior King Air C90GT would have cost USD 2,950,000.

"Thus, the audit noted the government did not get the value for money from the purchase as it acquired an aircraft which was a phased-out model though an updated version of the plane was available at a marginally higher price," the PAG report noted.