Trade association alleges scam in Goa’s purchase of software


Panaji: A trade organisation Monday alleged a Rs.5 crore scam in the procurement of Microsoft Windows software by the state education department for a scheme under which college students are given computers free of cost.

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The Goa IT Business Association (GIBA), comprising 70 leading computer dealers, alleged at a press conference here that the state education department was pandering to a cartel of computer traders which, it said, had �fixed’ tenders.

“The government in the last financial year purchased 11,000 computers, each with an accompanying Microsoft windows XP academic pack from one of the tender cartel members. And every pack is overpriced by nearly double of its original printed price,” said Prashant Kunkolienkar, president of GIBA.

The GIBA, which recently filed a public interest litigation (PIL) alleging another multi-crore scam involving purchase of computers by the education department, said that while the official printed peice for the Microsoft software was Rs.3,090, the government was purchasing it from Intex Computers Private Limited for Rs.6,191.

“The differential price for the lot of 11,000 computers as far as the software alone is concerned is Rs.5 crore,” said Kunkolienkar.

Furnishing tender documents sourced under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, he said the existence of a cartel involved in purchasing nearly one lakh computers for the government over a period of eight years was beyond doubt. In the last few years, the difference in prices quoted the first four bidders was just one rupee, he pointed out.

“How can four different bidders quote a rupee less than each other for a string of years together? There is surely a cartel involved. The tender criteria is tailor-made to fit these four dealers,” Kunkolienkar said, adding that repeated complaints to the state government on this issue were of no avail.