Delhi High Court seeks Centre's response in PIL claiming contracts to CSC for e-services awarded without auction process

Response from the Central government was sought in a petition preferred by Telecom Watchdog.
Delhi High Court seeks Centre's response in PIL claiming contracts to CSC for e-services awarded without auction process
Delhi High Court

The Delhi High Court on Friday issued notice in a public interest litigation claiming that the award of contracts to Common Service Centres e-Governance Services Ltd (CSC) was done without following the tender/auction process. (Telecom Watchdog vs UOI)

A Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan sought response from the Central government, CSC, Chief Vigilance Commission and Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL) in the petition preferred by Telecom Watchdog.

Appearing for the Petitioner, Advocate Prashant Bhushan informed the court that contracts, on nomination basis, was granted by the Department of Telecommunications to CSC, a private company which was created as a Special Purpose Vehicle by the Centre for providing e-governance services.

The subject matter of the contracts was the implementation of "BharatNet", under which Optical Fiber Cable was to be laid across all Gram Pachayats.

Bhushan added that in turn, CSC passed on all the contracts to its subsidiary, which further passed on the contracts to various other private companies, without any tender.

Claiming a scam of Rs one lakh crore, Bhushan alleged that the modus operandi started in March 2017 and has been going on ever since.

"This violates very principle of law. Government cannot deal with public money in this manner.", he said.

It is further stated that CSC is getting contracts from other ministries, departments, banks, insurance companies, etc on nomination basis by claiming to be a government-owned entity.

In the petition filed through Advocate Pranav Sachdeva, the petitioner has sought a time-bound investigation by the CVC into the matter.

Direction is also sought to ensure that all future contracts are awarded by following a transparent competitive tender/auction process.

The matter would be heard next on January 29.

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