The Greater Chennai Corporation appears to be on a lavish spending mode. Yes. It is spending Rs.9,031/- per tweet to publicise it’s actions in social media. Difficult to believe ? Let’s see.
After Edappadi K Palanisamy assumed charge as Tamil Nadu’s Chief Minister following the demise of Jayalalitha and the Dharma Yudham drama, there was absolutely no control over the members of the cabinet and it was literally free for all. Due to the wafer thin majority he was enjoying and due to the arm-twisting of the central government, EPS could not wield any influence over his Ministers. This gave a free for all pass to everyone. The one member of EPS’s cabinet who milked this free pass to the hilt is former Local Administration Minister SP Velumani.
Velumani’s writ ran large in the entire western zone of Tamil Nadu. No Collector or Superintendent of Police can be appointed in his zone without his blessings. Those who enjoyed his blessings minted money.
One such officer who enjoyed Velumani’s blessings is TN Hariharan IAS. He belongs to the SCS cadre and was inducted into IAS in 2003. During the past four years, he was given lucrative postings and he aided and abetted Velumani in his loot. Hariharan had a long tenure as Collector Coimbatore and later he was made Additional Secretary of Municipal Administration. Subsequently he was made the Director of Chennai Metro Water Supply and Sewage Board. It is an interesting story how he has been showered with government orders worth crores of rupees.
Following the boom of social media most of the government departments have started using social media to publicize about their schemes and to make public announcements. In most of the departments the concerned staff make these announcements in social media. For example, the social media handles of Chennai City Police are handled by a Sub-Inspector. In other departments too, officials are being deployed to handle social media.
But the Chennai Corporation, chose to pay 2.31 crores to a firm named KS Smart Solutions, a Chennai based firm to handle it’s social media for one year. Though a lot of technical jargons were used to describe the work allotted to this firm, the bottom line is they need to handle the social media handles of Chennai Corporation. On a brief analysis of Chennai Corporation’s social media handles, it was found that on average 7 tweets are published from that handle. The same content is copy pasted in Instagram, and facebook. On some days, there are just 3 tweets and in some days there are 10 to 12 tweets. On an average if 7 tweets a day are calculated, the Chennai Corporation is paying Rs.9031/- per tweet for 365 days which runs into 2.31 crores.
This firm, KS Smart Solutions was registered on 28 April 2016. The firm was started by Shankar Varadharajan and Anancha Perumal Selvi Keshav. They both serve as Directors in this firm from 27th July 2019. The firm states, “Legal, accounting, book-keeping and auditing activities; tax consultancy; market research and public opinion polling; business and management consultancy” as its objectives.
On 26 December 2020, one Sri Ram Karnan was added as a Director in this firm. One Sushmith Kumar Hariharan is the son of SP Velumani’s blue-eyed boy TN Hariharan IAS. He got married to the daughter of Sri Ram Karnan on 6 February 2019 and it was this Sri Ram Karnan who was made Director in KS Smart Solutions.
Further the said Sushmith Kumar Hariharan has also described his profession as “Full Time Director in KS Smart Solutions” as per his linkedin profile. Why of all the firms, this firm, with no previous experience in such ventures was awarded this contract worth 2.31 crores is the moot question.
Quite interestingly, the work order was awarded to KS Smart Solutions on a day when the Election Commission of India – 26 February 2021. The news about announcement of dates for assembly polls was known to the media from the morning itself as the ECI had issued a press release in this regard. In spite of knowing well that ECI is about to announce poll dates on the same day, the social media management contract has been awarded to KS Smart Solutions.
Former LA Minister SP Velumani literally indulged in scientific corruption. Since all major tenders are released through E-Tender method, there was a sort of a level playing field where anyone can bid for the work. However, Velumani with the help of technocrats implemented a technology called ‘white-listing’ Through this method, the tender website will be accessible to particular firms whose ip addresses are white listed. For others who try to access the tender website, the website will not open and will display some technical glitch.
Apart from getting orders for Chennai Corporation’s social media management, the said KS Smart Solutions has also got orders to supply Robots for sewage cleaning.
In one such tender, the Udhagamandalam Town Panchayat floated tenders for the supply of Sewage Cleaning Robots at a cost of Rs.40 lakhs. Two tenderers were finalized as L1 and L2 (Lowest 1 and Lowest 2).
The first firm that came as L1 is none other than KS Smart Solutions owned by the son of TN Hariharan IAS. The firm L2 makes the story interesting.
The firm which arrived as L2 is one Temple Touch Innovations Private Limited, No.3, Salai Street, Mylapore Chennai 600 004. The firm was registered on 5 Novemeber 2018 with ‘software’ as it’s objectives with a paid up capital of Rs.one lakh.
There are two directors of this firm. 1) Sugantha Kumar and 2) Ancha Perumal Selvi Keshav.
Interestingly, Ancha Perumal Selvi Keshav is also a Director in KS Smart Solutions. As such, Ancha Perumal Selvi as Director in both KS Smart Solutions and Temple Touch Innovations had bid for one and the same work in the name of two firms.
This reason alone is enough for black listing this firm and to initiate prosecution.
Sources say, apart from the supply of Robots for sewage cleaning the said KS Smart Solutions firm, had obtained orders for several works under the local administration department says sources. Most of the software related works awarded to KS Smart Solutions were sub-contracted to Zth Orbit Private Limited, 353, Anna Salai Nandanam, a firm which commenced it’s operations only in April 2021. This firm also shows, Chennai Corporation and CMWSSB as its clients.
A comprehensive and thorough probe is required into the activities of KS Smart Solutions and TN Hariharan IAS, apart from a deeper probe into the activities of SP Velumani. Hope the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption working under MK.Stalin rises up to the occasion.