KARACHI: The Sindh High Court has directed the chief secretary to conduct an impartial inquiry into awarding of the contract of a cattle market at main Hub River Road in Mawach Goth without adopting proper legal procedures and approval from competent authorities.
A two-judge bench headed by Justice Khadim Hussain M. Shaikh in its order observed that the award of the contract for two months without following the legal procedures and approval from competent authorities seemed to be the outcome of favouritism and connivance of the officials of District Municipal Corporation-West.
The DMC-West, its chairman, director-taxes and accounts officer and contractor Tariq in connivance with each other awarded the contract causing a loss of millions to the exchequer, it added.
The bench directed the chief secretary to hold an independent inquiry into the matter within 30 days and furnish a comprehensive report by fixing the responsibility upon the delinquents and taking action against them.
A petitioner moved the SHC alleging that the contract of a cattle market was awarded with parking facility at Hub River Road near Yusuf Goth in Mawach Goth in violation of the law.
The SHC observes that the 60-day contract was given without following legal procedure
He cited the home secretary, inspector general of police, SSP-West, Saeedabad SHO, DMC-West chairman and other officials as respondents.
The DMC officials filed their comments along with copies of documents related to the publication of a public notice for holding an auction of entrance fee collection on sales of animals with a parking facility.
They stated that the bid thereof was shown to be started from Rs59,570,000.
Nadeem Kamal, deputy director-taxes, DMC-West, was present in court on behalf of the director-taxes along with lawyers for other DMC officials.
They submitted that the contract was awarded to M/s New Paradise for 60 days from July 13 on the payment of Rs12,000,000 out of which an amount of Rs10 million had already been deposited by him.
When the bench confronted them about the guidelines meant for the subject auction, they conceded that the contract of 60 days was given to the contractor without adopting the legal procedure and approval of the competent authorities.
“Under these circumstances, we are of the humble view that the contract of sixty (60) days for the prime period i.e. Eid-ul-Azha 2020, awarded to respondent No 9 without adopting the proper procedure and approval of the competent authority, seems to be the outcome of favoritism and connivance of the respondent No 5 to 9 with each other, and thereby causing loss of millions of rupees to the exchequer,” the court order said.
Published in Dawn, August 1st, 2020