On Friday, reports had emerged claiming that a woman IPS officer in Karnataka had impersonated the state Home Secretary to seek classified details regarding the Rs 619-crore Safe City project that is being funded by the centre’s Nirbhaya Fund. A report by Times of India had claimed that the Bengaluru police was not happy with the officer’s interference in the project even as the process of selecting the service provider for design, implementation and maintenance of the project was underway. Though the officer was not named, it later surfaced that the case pertained to IPS D Roopa.
Reportedly, an independent project management consultancy – Ernst & Young, who were hired by the city police, had prepared a request for proposal (RFP) for the project and had uploaded it on November 11. However, the Bengaluru city police came to know that a woman officer had contacted the project consultants on November 7, even before the tender was uploaded, to seek details about their previous cancelled RFP based on the allegations made by one of the bidders.
Later, a confusion erupted pertaining to the details of the case after city police learned that the Home Secretary had not sought any details but it was a woman IPS officer. A complaint was filed with the chief secretary stating that the officer unauthorisedly tried to “access classified information before the publication of tender for wrongful gains”.
However, it was later revealed that the woman IPS officer who was being alluded to was none other than current Home Secretary of state D Roopa. Allegations were made against D Roopa claiming that the officer was trying to influence the Rs 619 tender process.
Home Secretary clarifies, says acted as a ‘whistle-blower’ only
Speaking to TV9, senior IPS officer D Roopa clarified in detail stating that it was she who called the Ernst & Young officials to know the details pertaining to the tender documents, with the intention of ensuring that the tender process did not favour any single bidder.
Roopa, who says that she is a whistleblower in the present case, found several irregularities in the bidding process and added that she only contacted the consultant firm to seek details on the manner in which tenders are being drafted to allegedly favour one firm.
Taking to Twitter, the Home Secretary said that serious irregularities in the RFP of the tender document when she studied the Nirbhaya Safe City project file in the Home Department. She said that Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) had already flagged irregularities to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) stating that the tender was prepared in such a manner that it favoured a particular vendor.
My whistle blowing in respect of Nirbhaya/safe-city project. pic.twitter.com/AySN4jH2xc— D Roopa IPS (@D_Roopa_IPS) December 25, 2020
“I blew the whistle, bringing this to the notice of the Chief Secretary. This led to the Chief Secretary calling me for the next Safe City project meeting. That the tender document was biased is proved by the fact that said tender has been cancelled,” she added.
Safe city project’s tender procedure has several irregularities: D Roopa
In her conversation with TV9, D Roopa further clarified that amidst several allegations of irregularities pertaining to the drafting of the tender by Ernst&Young (E&Y), she, in her capacity as Home Secretary, spoke to the consultant seeking technical details and more facts, to know why such a biased tender was drafted by them.
She said that the complaint against her appears to have been filed at the behest of those benefitting from the biased and unfair tender. The senior cop said that she has a responsibility to safeguard the public interest and public money in a bonafide discharge of my duties as a public servant. I myself being Home Secretary, the complaint alleging impersonation is false and motivated, she added.
The project, funded by the Centre under the Nirbhaya Fund and aimed at ensuring the safety of women and children, envisages installation of 7,500 different types of surveillance cameras across the city. Under the project, Bengaluru was one of the few cities in the country chosen to make urban spaces safer for women and children. The project is scheduled to be implemented over a three-year period and the centre will fund 60% of the total cost, while the state has to shell the remaining 40%. The project includes installing of CCTV cameras, surveillance systems, panic buttons and GIS mapping of crimes in the city.
D Roopa came to the public glare after she exposed the royal treatment given to late Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalitha’s aide Sasikala in the Parappana Agrahara prison in Bengaluru.