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Ticket scam: Role of ITPO officials to be probed

By Devesh K. Pandey

NEW DELHI, DEC. 9 . An inquiry into the suspected complicity of Indian Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) officials in the alleged overprinting of entry tickets for the recent India International Trade Fair at Pragati Maidan, has been initiated under an Assistant Commissioner of Police.

A few days ago, the New Delhi police had seized trade fair tickets worth Rs. 37 lakhs, which were printed by a firm that had been sub-contracted the job.

It is learnt that the police have almost completed the probe into the role of a printing firm at Okhla, Everest Press, in the overprinting of tickets and they have also found some discrepancies on its part, which might attract legal action against the company.

Earlier when the police were tipped-off about the overprinting of trade fair tickets, they learnt that the order for printing had been sub-contracted to Everest Press through Mode Advertising and Marketing Agency, which has its office at Lajpat Nagar in South Delhi. During questioning, the agency owner informed the police that the agency had got the printing job through the State Bank of India against the payment of the lowest bidding amount of Rs. 7 lakhs.

Mode, which is an advertising and marketing firm, sub-contracted the printing work to Everest Press. During interrogation, the Everest Press owner revealed that he too had sub-contracted a part of the work to Gopson Printers Limited at Noida and New Graphic Security Printer at Peera Garhi in West Delhi.

Subsequently, the police mounted raids on these printing units and recovered 54,000 tickets and complementary/business passes worth Rs. 37 lakhs.

Interestingly, the ITPO officials earlier said it was through the State Bank of India, which paid for the printing of tickets, that the work was allocated to Mode.

They said their job was just to inspect and give clearance to the printing units after confirming that they were fit for the assignment.

But, the police are still not clear about the process through which the printing of tickets was actually awarded to Mode and then sub-contracted to Everest, which in turn involved two more printing units.

In order to find the truth behind the suspected involvement of ITPO officials in the whole episode, which apparently caused huge losses to the organisation, the New Delhi police have asked the Assistant Commissioner of Police of the Connaught Place sub-division to take up investigations in this regard, as this particular aspect of the case involves government officials. Meanwhile, the ITPO authorities have already initiated a vigilance inquiry into the whole affair.

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