India’s Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has accused Pan India Network Pvt Limited, a company associated with Indian gaming giant Essel Group, of rigging the tender process which led to it becoming a distributor of Sikkim’s state lottery.
According to a report from The Wire, the CAG’s latest audit report alleges that during the tender process, the Essel-associated firm had “no real competition” in becoming on of Sikkim Lottery’s marketing agents in 2012. The CAG said it was a case of “collusive bidding”, as the only other competition during the bidding process was a firm that was also associated with the Essel Group.
The auditor’s records also show that at the time, in light of the alleged “collusive bidding”, the tender committed called for a fresh tender, but was referred later in the day as “invitation of fresh bids would cause delay and loss of revenue to the state”.
However, in a statement to The Wire, Pan India Network officials denied the competing firm, called Tashi Delek Gaming Solutions – is associated with the Essel Group.
The unbalanced tender process is said to be the blame for the skewed revenue sharing model and a host of other irregularities in Sikkim’s state lotteries, as well as leaving the government with “meagre revenue” at the benefit of a handful of private marketing agents and distributors.