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In Madhya Pradesh, Minister Allegedly Bent Rules To Help Family Firm

Bhopal:  Madhya Pradesh Energy Minister Paras Chandra Jain is facing allegations of illegally favouring a firm owned by his family. Infinit Energy Solutions was given contracts worth crores to install rooftop solar panels in the state’s Ujjain division, allegedly in contravention of rules. The firm is owned by the minister’s daughter Swati Jain and daughter-in-law Puja Jain.

Denying the allegations, the minister said his daughter and daughter-in-law formed the company when he was the state’s education minister. “Running a business is not a crime… They never got all the tenders,” the minister said.

“E-tendering is an online and transparent system. What can a minister do in it? If that is the case we should have got all the tenders,” added Puja Jain, insisting the allegations are baseless.

The firm was allegedly empanelled with the Madhya Pradesh Paschim Kshetra Vidyut Vitran Company Limited in 2016 to install rooftop solar panels  in Indore division. A tender for the project, floated by the state government in June 2016, was cancelled allegedly to help the firm get the contract.

The contract was finally awarded to the firm in April this year.

Manu Shrivastva, the Managing Director of Urja Vikas Nigam Limited said, “Infinit was one of the bidders… In one category under electronic bidding, they got work order of Rs 2.5 crore as lowest bidder, the second lowest bidder got 30 per cent of the work and the third lowest bidder got the remaining work.”

“We have also given counter-offers to the rest of bidders,” he added.

The Congress has demanded that Mr Jain step down immediately.

“At present, there are two types of laws in the state. One which is flexible at every level for BJP, while people of the state are governed by the law as per book,” said the Leader of Opposition, Congress’s Ajay Singh.

This is not the first instance, he alleged. “Earlier, Omprakash Dhurve, Suryaprakash Meena have misused power to provide benefit to their ones close to them. But till date, no action has been taken against them.”