D Roopa has written to the Karnataka Chief Secretary, seeking a probe against Hemant Nimbalkar over a contentious tender document which was eventually dropped.

D Roopa IPS speaking at an eventFile image
news Controversy Saturday, December 26, 2020 - 17:47

Karnataka Home Secretary D Roopa has written a letter dated December 26 to state Chief Secretary Vijaya Bhaskar alleging that fellow IPS officer Hemanth Nimbalkar has made a false and motivated complaint against her, TNM has reliably learnt. She has further demanded a probe against Nimbalkar, alleging in turn that he was trying to favour a private company in the Bengaluru Safe City Project. This is in the context of a Times of India report which appeared on Friday suggesting Roopa was under probe by the Chief Secretary for allegedly ‘impersonating’ as Home Secretary and interfering with the tendering process for the multi-crore Bengaluru Safe City Project. (It is unclear where the question of impersonation arises as Roopa is the Home Secretary of Karnataka.)

The scope of the Bengaluru Safe City Project – also known as the Nirbhaya Project – includes setting up of 7,500 cameras and other surveillance measures as a means of crime prevention against women and children in the city. The project is being implemented by the Karnataka Home Department. While Hemanth Nimbalkar is the chairman of both the Tender Inviting Committee and the Tender Scrutiny Committee for the project, Roopa is Secretary (PCAS) of the Home Department.

On Friday, Times of India published a report that an unnamed IPS officer had impersonated the Home Secretary to get confidential information about the project from a private auditor tasked with drawing up the tender documents for the project. The content of the report is on the lines of a complaint written by IPS officer Hemant Nimbalkar, Additional Commissioner of Police (Administration) to the Karnataka Chief Secretary on December 7. 

TNM has a copy of the complaint made by Nimbalkar to the CS, which doesn’t explicitly mention D Roopa; however, the complaint refers to calls made by Roopa. In this complaint, Nimbalkar said Roopa’s act of seeking details from private auditor EY was “undue illegal interference” for “wrongful gains”.

Now, Roopa has sent a complaint against Nimbalkar to the Chief Secretary, making a similar allegation against him. Informed sources have confirmed that in her letter, Roopa has alleged that Nimbalkar was trying to avoid scrutiny of the tender as he was allegedly favouring a private firm for the Rs 1,067 crore project. To prove her point, she has mentioned that the tender (request for proposal) was eventually dropped following a complaint made to the Prime Minister’s office by Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), a Ministry of Defence company, which had also placed a tender for the project but lost out to a private company.

Roopa has said that she was scrutinising the tendering process under the instructions of Additional Chief Secretary Home Rajneesh Goel, IAS, adding that she had spoken to auditor EY in her official capacity to ascertain more facts on the matter.

Demanding a probe against Nimbalkar, Roopa asked that he be removed from his position of chairman of both the Tender Inviting Committee and the Tender Scrutiny Committee as he has been chargesheeted by the Central Bureau of Investigation in the multi-crore IMA Ponzi scheme case.

In a statement which she has tweeted, Roopa rubbished the allegation of impersonation given she is the Home Secretary. She said, “The complaint against my actions appears to have been made at behest of those benefiting from the biased and unfair tender. Each of my action has been to safeguard public interest and public money in bonafide discharge of my duties as public servant. I myself being Home Secretary, the complaint alleging impersonation is false and motivated.”

 

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