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Gurgaon: MCG under fresh scanner over awarding tender to PR firm

The MCG had awarded a tender for public relations work to Practice Strategic Communications India Pvt Ltd.

gurgaon Updated: Oct 08, 2017 23:10 IST
Kartik Kumar
Kartik Kumar
Hindustan Times
Gurgaon,Gurugram news,MCG
The MCG office at Sector 34 in Gurgaon.(Sanjeev Verma/HT PHOTO)

The Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) has come under scanner yet again as the Chief Minister’s Office has marked a vigilance enquiry pertaining to the issuing of a tender to a public relations (PR) agency following a complaint by a city-based social activist.

As per the complaint by social activist Harinder Dhingra to Chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar, a copy which is with the Hindustan Times, the MCG had awarded a tender for public relations work to Practice Strategic Communications India Pvt Ltd in lieu of a bid worth ₹5.15 lakh.

The tender had been awarded for a period of 36 months in January and mainly involves public relations, social media and events promotion work for the MCG.

Dhingra in his letter goes on to state that only two bids were received for the tender and the other tender worth
₹3 lakh was “not even opened.”

“Instead of seeking more offers from PR firms by extending the tender date, MCG officials closed the tender at merely two bids and allotted the contract to the highest bidder which seemed odd. After making some inquiries, it came to light that the SPV of PR agency (practice strategic communications) based in New Delhi is owned by the son of a senior Haryana cadre IAS officer. This raises suspicions of discrepancies and preferential treatment,” Dhingra said.

Dhingra said that the special purpose vehicle (SPV) of the PR agency is owned by Kaushal Sheoran, the son of OP Sheoran, a senior IAS officer of the Haryana cadre.

However, Hindustan Times wasn’t able to independently verify the claim.

Practice Strategic Communications India Pvt Ltd officials declined to comment on the claim.

MCG commissioner V Umashankar said that ‘it appears norms were followed in the tender allotment.”

“The tender was floated prior to my appointment as the MCG commissioner. However, based on the records, it appears to have been floated and allotted as per norms,” Umashankar said.

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The MCG has been under the microscope this year following allegations of a property tax and cycle scams.

Concerned over reports of MCG officials assessing 200 commercial properties as residential areas during property tax calculation, minister of urban local bodies (ULB) Kavita Jain to sought a report from Umashankar. Property tax slab for commercial properties are much higher than what it is for residential areas.

MCG officials also failed to directly account for 172 bicycles worth ₹9.65 lakh purchased for Raahgiri in 2014, which they claimed had been ‘donated’. A Lokayukta inquiry was subsequently launched into the matter.

First Published: Oct 08, 2017 23:09 IST