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Battle between Cong& BJP rages over graft issue

Battle between Cong& BJP rages over graft issue

BHOPAL: After the series of raids by the Income Tax officials on persons said to be close to top Madhya Pradesh Congress leaders, including Chief Minister Kamal Nath, the state government has launched a counteroffensive against some former ministers and officials who were occupying key positions during the BJP rule.

The government, on Wednesday, got the State Economic Offences Wing (EOW) to register an FIR against "unknown politicians and bureaucrats" in the Rs 3,000-crore e-tendering scam.

Officers of five government departments and directors of seven private companies have been booked for forgery, IT Act violations and under Prevention of Corruption Act. The agency is expected to identify the politicians and bureaucrats, who allegedly benefitted from the scam - and a section of 'blue-eyed bureaucrats' of the erstwhile BJP government may be in the crosshairs.

"We have registered an FIR for further action. Arrests and raids will follow," KN Tiwari, DG, EOW, told mediapersons.

An alleged breach in the MP State Electronics Development Corporation (MPSEDC) software had led to the scam, forcing the government to revoke nine big-ticket tenders floated in 2018. Investigators believe the scam could be worth Rs 80,000 crore if past tenders are probed. The Congress government's action is likely to open another political front in the already war-like atmosphere prevailing in the state, less than three weeks before voting.

The EOW was eagerly awaiting CM Kamal Nath's nod for FIR in the e-tendering scam after Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-in) sent a 'positive' report on digital tampering. Ahead of the 2018 assembly polls, the Congress had attacked the then BJP government on the scam with Nath alleging that the scandal could be worth Rs. 3,000 crore.

CERT-in has detected footprints of hackers, who infiltrated the e-procurement software. In its report to EOW last month, CERT-in confirmed that e-tenders were 'modified' through unauthorised access to the software. According to sources, CERT-in has sent the IP addresses of systems that were used to back three tenders (91, 93 and 94) floated by MP Jal Nigam. They have asked EOW to send logs and other details of 6 more tenders for further investigation. IPA

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