Rs 60 million embezzled while purchasing boots for Nepal Police

Published On: August 3, 2022 12:36 PM NPT By: Tapendra Karki

KATHMANDU, August 3: It has been found that Nepal Police paid twice the market price while purchasing DSM boots for police personnel. The price of ``Fighter Shoes'' produced by Modern Shoes Limited in the name of Cornwall Business Traders has doubled.

It has been revealed that businessman Keshar Pradhan of Cornwall Business Traders company had won the tender for supplying shoes to Nepal Police at the rate of Rs 2,650 per pair of boots. Accordingly, the DSM boots supplied by his company to the District Police Office are of poor quality. According to police headquarters sources, those boots were purchased from Kathmandu and sent to the districts. It is estimated that almost half of the Rs 135 million spent for purchasing the DSM boots was embezzled. "The quality of the boots that have come now is very poor. They are prone to wear and tear in the sun. When you go to buy these boots in the market, they cost Rs 1,400 to 1,500 rupees per pair, but the Nepal Police paid Rs 2,650 per pair for these boots. Therefore, it is estimated that more than half of the amount has been embezzled,” said a source at the police headquarters.

Other companies, in collusion with Cornwall Business Traders, had proposed Rs 2,675 and Rs 2,775 per pair of boots. The tender was awarded to Cornwall Business Traders which offered Rs 2,650 for each pair of boots. The company has already purchased boots and sent them to all districts and has also received payments from there. Earlier, the procurement process was done from district to district. Ever since Upendrakant Aryal became the Inspector General of Police, the district police offices were assigned to make the procurement process transparent. However, now, citing the ‘order from above’, the police head office purchased the boots in Kathmandu and sent them to the district police offices concerned for payment.

According to sources, DMS boots worth Rs 135 million were secretly purchased and distributed without even quality testing. Sources claim that Nepal Police has lost more than 60 million rupees due to this. During the evaluation of the bids opened on 11th February 2021, it was found that the quality test report of DMS boots was fake, leading to the cancellation of the bid but later the same boots were sent to the districts without testing their quality. The police personnel themselves have complained that the boots purchased are of low quality.

DMS Boot Company and Asian Footwear JV submitted bids for DMS Boots. DMS Boot Company is owned by Virat Thapa. The company submitted a report of passing the quality test from SGS Company in Chennai, India. The report was confirmed to be fake during evaluation. The police then seized the money kept as bank guarantee by DMS Boot Company, which had submitted a fake manufacturer's quality report, on February 21, 2021. The police headquarters then wrote to the Public Procurement Monitoring Office in Tahachal on February 14 to blacklist the company..

"It appears that the purchase was made in accordance with the Public Procurement Act, but the quality of the boots sent without even testing will not last even six months," said a junior police officer. The poli ce personnel are provided with boots every two years. However, the boots sent now are of poor quality and will not last even six months, putting additional financial burden on the police personnel. However, DIG Rai, spokesperson for Nepal Police, said that he was not aware of this. Similarly, DIG Deep Thapa of the Management Branch claimed that the office that bought it paid the money. "The payment was not made from the center, it was made from the police offices concerned," DIG Thapa said. However, the purchase was made by the police headquarters and the payment was made in the name of Modern Shoes Limited.

Earlier, Pitambar Kumar Munka, the owner of Crown Textiles, who prepared the fake quality report, was arrested and detained for 26 days. However, an employee of the police headquarters said that's why the police head office made them pay double the price for the boots worn by the employees. Sources claim that as Virat Thapa was protected earlier, the quality testing of DSM boot was not done with his connivance and there is collusion between police headquarters officials and political power centers.

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