Three arrested in Madhya Pradesh’s Rs 3,000 crore e-tendering scam
A day after an FIR was lodged in the Rs 3,000-crore e-tendering case, three officials of Osmo IT Solutions were arrested by the economic offences wing (EOW) on Thursday, police said.
EOW superintendent of police (Bhopal), Arun Mishra, said police have arrested the firm’s directors Vinay Choudhary and Varun Chaturvedi, and its marketing head Sunil Golwalkar.
Mishra said the computer emergency response team report had pointed out that the tampering in the e-tendering had been done in the Osmo office. “They are in our custody and we are questioning them. We have also seized hard disks and analysing the server data of the company,” Mishra said, adding, the search operation was still going on in the offices of Osmo in Man Sarovar Complex, Bhopal.
The case relates to how some firms allegedly illegally managed to hack the e-procurement portal to see the e-tenders before the bid was to be opened and then make favourable changes in the bid.
EOW officials said that in 2016, OSMO IT Solutions had been asked to do a performance testing on why the e-procurement portal was working so slowly. For that purpose a “Demo department” was created in mid-2016 for training and practice for the department officials and bidders.
Later when the scam broke, an internal inquiry by Madhya Pradesh state economic development corporation (MPSEDC), who hosted the e-tendering portal, found that the user ID given to OSMO (PT_4) was used repeatedly to access the e-procurement portal to change the tender document and the CERT report verified that the changes had been made from the offices of OSMO.
In a related development, the EOW has decided to expand the scope of the e-tendering scam and has decided to scrutinize all the e-tenders that had been floated through MPSEDC since 2014 of all the government departments, which is likely to run into hundreds, said officials.
“We are contacting all the departments and taking data from MPSEDC. So far we had been investigating only nine tenders from five departments, but since we are sure that a crime has been committed, it is logical that we expand the ambit of our investigations and include all e-tenders floated so far.”
The e-tendering scam relates to how some firms allegedly illegally managed to hack the e-procurement portal hosted by the MPSEDC to see the e-tenders before the bid was to be opened and then make changes in the bid so that the favoured company illegally becomes the lowest bidder and gets the contract. In the FIR lodged yesterday, cases had been registered against five departments and eight companies, which included OSMO IT Solutions.