News Karnataka
Tuesday, May 30 2023

K’taka Home Secy says complaint against her false, motivated

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Bengaluru: The controversy over the tender project of Rs 619 crore under the Nirbhaya Fund appears to be getting murkier with Karnataka Home Secretary D. Roopa clarifying that the complaint against her was false and motivated.

In her explanation to the Chief Secretary, Roopa stated that she had called the company to know the details about the project as she had found serious irregularities in tender document of the Rs 619 crore Bengaluru Safe City Project under the Nirbhaya scheme.

Taking to Twitter, she shared a one-page unsigned letter written to the Chief Secretary T.M. Vijaybhaskar.

She claims that complaint against her action of calling the company appears to have been made at the behest of those benefiting from biased and unfair tenders.

“Each of my actions in this regard is to protect the public interest and public money in bona fide discharge of my duties as a public servant,” she said.

According to her letter, she said that she found several irregularities while studying Nirbhaya safe city project file and in this context, she had called the company in her capacity as Home Secretary.

She further stated that Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) had complained to Prime Minister’s Office that the tender was favouring a particular private vendor. “I blew the whistle bringing this to notice of the Chief Secretary. This even led to Chief Secretary calling me for the next meeting. It proved that the tender document was biased and tender was even cancelled,” she claimed.

According to her, in this context, in her capacity as Home Secretary, she spoke with Ernst & Young (E&Y) to get more facts to know why such biased tender was drafted by them.

The row over Rs 619 crore project emerged on Friday after it came to the limelight that Bengaluru Additional Commissioner of Police (Administration) Hemant Nimbalkar filed a complaint with the Chief Secretary on December 7, alleging that a woman “impersonating as Home Secretary” was calling a company to know the ‘classified’ details about the tenders filed by it.

Immediately after this complaint, Chief Secretary, T. M. Vijaybhaskar ordered an inquiry headed by Bengaluru City police commissioner Kamal Pant to probe the alleged undue illegal interference in the tender process for the Rs 619 crore Bengaluru Safe City Project under the Nirbhaya scheme.

The government passed an order appointing the police commissioner as the Investigation Officer on December 24, which was released to the media on Friday.

In his December 7 letter to the Chief Secretary, Nimbalkar said that the Request For Proposal (RFP) for selection of service provider for design, implementation and maintenance of Bengaluru Safe City project was under process.

Nimbalkar said that on December 2, he had a meeting with Akshay Singhal, the management consultant for the project.

Singhal sought to know about the email communication he had with Bengaluru police commissioner Kamal Pant on November 9 and asked about the developments related to it.

“The email communication attached herewith is self-explanatory and amounts to clear impersonation as Home Secretary to the Government of Karnataka for getting access to classified information with respect to the RFP in preparation for Safe City project worth Rs 619 crore before the publication of tender for wrongful gains without any lawful authority and locus standi,” Nimbalkar said in his letter.

He submitted that it also amounted to illegal interference in the tender process initiated by the Karnataka government by an unauthorised person.

The police officer said the RFP mentioned in the mail attached was under preparation and was not published as on November 7, 2020, on the date of the conversation.

He requested the Chief Secretary to initiate an inquiry into it and take necessary action, as per law. The Home Ministry, in collaboration with the Ministry of Women and Child Development, is implementing the project under the Nirbhaya scheme to prevent and curb crimes against women and girls in public places.

The scheme aims at providing safer urban infrastructure and efficient access to law enforcement agencies.

The Nirbhaya Fund was announced by the Centre in 2013 after the sensational December 16, 2012 gangrape and murder case in Delhi to support the initiatives of the governments and the NGOs working towards the safety of women.

The Nirbhaya Fund Framework provides for a non-lapsable corpus fund for safety and security of women to be administered by the Department of Economic Affairs of the Union Ministry of Finance.

Types of cameras to be installed as per the RFP for Bengaluru include 7,500 Day/Night surveillance cameras, 5,000 fixed cameras, 1,000 Pan Tilt Zoom cameras, 1,000 Automated number plate recognition cameras, 500 Facial recognition cameras, 20 drone-based surveillance cameras and 1,100 body-worn cameras.

The project also includes workstations for video feed monitoring and incidence management, Command and Control Centres, data centres, GIS-based crime mapping for predictive policing, among others.

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