MP: Economic Offences Wing arrests 2 aides of BJP MLA

Pictorial representation. Photo credit: DH

The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Madhya Pradesh government arrested two aides of former minister and senior BJP MLA Narottam Mishra in connection with an alleged e-tendering scam during BJP rule, an official said on Saturday.

While the arrests were made on Friday evening, searches at the premises of the accused continued on Saturday morning, an official said.

Mishra, however, dared the Kamal Nath government to furnish proof and alleged "small fish" were being caught.

EOW Director General K N Tiwari said Virendra Pandey and Neelesh Awasthi were arrested on Friday evening in connection with irregularities in e-tendering process.

Pandey and Awasthi are former personal secretaries of Mishra and had been questioned several times by the EOW after an FIR was registered in April this year.

"We also conducted searches at their residences on Saturday and seized some documents," the DG said.

Another EOW officer said Pandey and Awasthi complained of uneasiness after the arrest and have been hospitalised.

Speaking on the issue, Mishra said, "When the matter of tampering in the e-tendering process came to the fore, we had ordered an investigation. On the contrary, the present government has given contracts to agencies against whom our government had ordered a probe for irregularities."

"I challenge (MP CM) Kamal Nath to come forward with facts and proofs. We cancelled all the tenders in which we got complaints of tampering. Neither work was done, nor was any payment made to them," Mishra claimed.

Mishra said "small fish" was being held despite the government knowing that e-tenders are cleared by committees headed by officers of the rank of secretary, principal secretary and chief secretary.

"They (Congress regime) should remove the confusion from their minds that this action would affect our mission," the BJP leader said.

The scam, as per officials, involves rigging of the online bidding process to ensure particular firms got tenders, including hacking the e-tender portal operated by the then BJP government in the state.

On April 10 this year, the EOW had registered cases against officials of seven companies, government departments and others, including (unknown) "politicians", in the Rs 3,000 crore e-tender rigging racket.

In the run-up to the November 2018 Assembly polls, the Congress had targeted the BJP government over the alleged racket. 

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