Dubious firm backs out of rural CET coaching

Peacock Enterprises, the firm at the centre of forgery allegations in its bid to provide satellite-based rural CET coaching, has withdrawn from the race.

According to government sources, the firm has backed out from the project citing “lack of time” for implementing it.

Deccan Herald had reported on Gumbi Software (the second lowest bidder) complaining to the State government about Peacock Enterprises being an unknown entity in satellite-based coaching. In reply, the firm produced a letter from Narayana Group of Educational Institutions, Hyderabad, certifying that Peacock Enterprises had indeed telecast classes of 240 hours to 55 centres from a studio owned by Sakshi News, using Edusat satellite.

However, Narayana Group’s IT manager wrote a letter stating that Peacock Enterprises had not provided any services to it. More doubts were raised about whether Peacock Enterprises utilised the studio at Sakshi News for providing satellite-based coaching using Edusat. The antenna system at Sakshi uses a frequency band different from that of Edusat’s.

Another letter produced by Peacock Enterprises purporting to be from Narayana was also found to have a lot of discrepancies. Following this, the Karnataka Examination Authority has been entrusted with the task of investigating the matter. Higher Education Minister V S Acharya said the government would not take the matter lightly. When asked about allegations of forgery, he said in no uncertain terms: “We will not tolerate any hanky-panky in this project.”

As per the tender floated by the Karnataka Examination Authority, satellite-based CET coaching was to be offered at 150 centres across the State. Each coaching centre was to house 100 students and the programme held in two phases.

The programme was to be telecast on Saturdays and Sundays in January and February, and from April 1 to April 25 in the second phase. Deccan Herald has learnt that the government is now negotiating with the next lowest bidder Gumbi to provide coaching.

“We are in discussions with Gumbi. If they agree to lower their prices to the level of the lowest bidder, we will consider it seriously,” said an official. The prices will also have to reflect the number of days lost due to the delay in awarding the tender, he added.

Postponement of CET likely

The state government looks set to postpone CET by 20 days. The move is being considered as the government has had some difficulty in negotiations with private colleges.

The deadlock is due to the non-approval of last year’s consensual agreement by the Supreme Court. The move is also being considered as this will facilitate the conduct of rural CET coaching by the government this year.

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