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Congress goes to Election Commission with E-tendering scam in MP

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VIVEK TANKHA

New Delhi, Sep 25 : The Congress on Tuesday alleged an e-tender scam worth Rs 30,000 crore in last four years in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh and approached the Election Commission raising concern that it could impact the assembly elections in the state.

In a letter to the Chief Election Commissioner O.P. Rawat, Congress leader Vivek Tankha alleged the people involved in the e-tender scam are close to state Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and the ruling BJP.

In his letter to Rawat, Tankha said, “It is billed as the e-tender scam and involves large-scale manipulation of the online procurement platform of the Madhya Pradesh government to allegedly favour a select few private companies in connivance with officers.”

“E-tenders of the estimated value of more than Rs 30,000 crore had been manipulated during the last four years in the state,” it said.

“The officers who purportedly manipulated the tendering process are perceived to be very close to the ruling party and especially to the Chief Minister,” it said.

In his letter, the Congress leader said that the matter came to light after a damning report was submitted by the Principal Secretary, Manish Rastogi MD of the MP State Electronics Development Corporation exposing the rot on May 5 this year.

“Even Chief Secretary Basant Pratap Singh was shocked by the findings of the report,” it said, adding that he ordered the economic offences wing to file an FIR against the delinquents inter alia for criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery, fabrication under the Indian Penal Code and for commission of cyber crimes including hacking and manipulation of electronic records under the Information Technology Act, 2000.

The Congress leader also alleged that instead of promptly acting on the directions of the Chief Secretary, the state government “slept over the said directions for one month”.

“No effort to register a case or to take action for recovery of digital equipment, including seizing of servers, computers, hard disks, laptops, pen drives etc. was either initiated or attempted, offering ample time to the delinquents to tamper with/destroy evidence,” it said.

The Congress said a preliminary enquiry was ordered only on June 21 by the EOW of the state police.

The Congress also raised the question as to why the Managing Director who blew the lid off the scam was transferred. “Why has there been no punitive action against the beneficiary companies despite an internal inquiry pointing out the names of bidders who emerged as the lowest bidder by compromising e-procurement infrastructure?” it asked.

Election

Facebook plans drastic measures if US polls descend into chaos: Report

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Facebook

San Francisco, Sep 22 : Facebook is bracing for tough measures to restrict content in case the November elections in the US descend into chaos or violent protests, according to a report in the Financial Times on Tuesday.

The plans were revealed by Facebook’s head of global affairs, Nick Clegg, in an interview to the newspaper.

“There are some break-glass options available to us if there really is an extremely chaotic and, worse still, violent set of circumstances,” Clegg was quoted as saying.

Facebook is under pressure to help maintain the integrity of the elections as it has faced criticism for failing to contain the spread of disinformation and hate speech on the platform.

It was even accused of failing to prevent attempts to create divisions in American society through disinformation campaigns by foreign players during the 2016 presidential election.

The stakes appear to be even higher this time with reports of similar attempts to influence the US presidential elections by groups operating from Russia, China and Iran.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg earlier this month announced additional steps it is taking to help secure the integrity of the US elections by encouraging voting, connecting people to authoritative information, and reducing the risks of post-election confusion.

These include measures to attach an informational label to content that seeks to delegitimise the outcome of the election or discuss the legitimacy of voting methods, for example, by claiming that lawful methods of voting will lead to fraud.

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Election

Wrong policies led to failure of Cong-RJD govts in Bihar: Owaisi

People of the country are facing the consequences due to the wrong moves of the Congress party,” the AIMIM chief said.

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asaduddin owaisi

Patna, Sep 19 — All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Saturday claimed that wrong policies led to the failure of the Congress and RJD governments in Bihar.

Owaisi was in Patna as the AIMIM entered into an alliance with the Samajwadi Janata Dal Democratic (SJDD) ahead of the Bihar polls.

“We will fight the election under the leadership of Devendra Prasad Yadav, the president of SJDD. We welcome all those parties who want to fight against communalism and communal parties,” the AIMIM chief said.

“We are not scared of any political party. Our party had contested the election in 2015 from Kishanganj, but the Congress won. Today the BJP is riding high in Bihar due to the failure of the RJD. I have defeated the BJP and the Shiv Sena in Hyderabad,” Owaisi said.

“In Maharashtra, the Congress party is sitting on the Shiv Sena’s lap. The former is presented as a secular party in the country but I would believe that its thinking promotes feudalism. People of the country are facing the consequences due to the wrong moves of the Congress party,” the AIMIM chief said.

The AIMIM has already declared it will contest on 50 seats in the upcoming assembly elections in Bihar.

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Election

Bihar Assembly Polls : Separate queue for Covid patients at polling booths

An ECI officer said that different political parties have urged that the expenditure limit be raised to Rs 2 lakh owing to the Coronavirus pandemic.

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election-commision

Patna, Sep 18 : The Election Commission of India (ECI) has has asked authorities to prepare a separate voters list for Corona-positive patients.

The decision was taken on Friday amid campaigning for the Bihar elections, expected to be held in October or November this year.

The idea is to prevent the transmission and spread of the virus, while allowing patients to exercise their right to vote.

As per the Commission’s strategy, there would be separate queues for Covid patients at polling stations.

The ECI has also made it mandatory for polling officers, presiding officers and polling agents of different political parties to be equipped with proper safety gear.

In another development, the ECI is expected to raise the limit for expenses which can be incurred by individual candidates on the election campaign.

An ECI officer said that different political parties have urged that the expenditure limit be raised to Rs 2 lakh owing to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The earlier limit was set at Rs 26 lakh.

The officer said that ECI may consult the law ministry on the issue.

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