Officials purchase A4 size white paper higher than the MRP blatantly violating rules; tender favours the company that has quoted a higher price.
A shocking ‘paper scam’, perpetrated by some officials in the Mysuru district administration (DC Office) has come to light.
The scam has been enriching the pockets of a few bureaucrats who have been blatantly flouting the norms to facilitate the sanction of tenders to their favourite suppliers on a price higher than the Maximum Retail Price (MRP).
The office of the Deputy Commissioner, Mysuru District, has in 2015, purchased 2,000 reams of A4 size white papers to supply them to all the Atal Ji Snehi Kendra (Nadakacheri) in the district. The administration had floated a tender inviting the suppliers following which five aspirants quoted their prices.
But surprisingly, the tender went out to the company which had quoted the highest price, Rs 23 above the MRP. The remaining four aspirants, who, it is learnt, had quoted lower prices, were elbowed out as they did not meet the ‘technical criteria’, paving the way for Spartan Info Solutions, Mysuru.
The administration had purchased 2,000 reams of 80 GSM A4 size papers of TNPL Company at a cost of Rs 240 per ream as against its actual MRP 217. The deal cost the administration Rs 4,80,000, Rs 46,000 in addition.
The purchase bill is now with Deputy Commissioner C Shikha for clearance. And only after her signature, payments would be made, sources said.
“What surprised me here is the district administration’s move to purchase a product beyond its MRP. We all know there can be no charges beyond the MRP. There are cases when sellers have been charged with hefty fine for selling goods above the MRP rates but the district administration seemed to have encouraged the same,” a legal expert told City Today.
It may be mentioned that the cases of exchange of goods above MRP hasn’t gone down well with the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) as it had, in May 2013, given a landmark judgement when it levied a fine of Rs 50 lakh on a vendor who charged a customer Rs 75 more than the MRP on an energy drink.
“If the administration had the lone contender for the tender after the disqualification of the other four, it could have called for re-tender as the supplier had quoted the amount above the MPP. But the administration decided not to do so,” the legal expert added.
Selling of goods at a price higher than the MRP is a clear violation of the Packaged Commodities Rules which says, “No retail dealer or other person including manufacturer, packer, importer and wholesale dealer shall make any sale of any commodity in packed form at a price exceeding the retail sale price thereof.”