Shimla – In a surprising turn of events, the Himachal Pradesh Tourism Department has abruptly halted a Rs 40 crore advertising agency tender amid growing suspicions of irregularities in the selection process. An official investigation has been launched, with IAS officer Pankaj Roy leading the inquiry.

The process of soliciting Expressions of Interest (EOI) for the contract, which began during the tenure of the BJP, aimed to award a multi-year, multi-million-rupee contract for advertising services. This marks the first time such a significant tender has been halted under the current Congress government’s administration.

Sources close to the matter have revealed that Vice-Chairman of the Tourism Development Board, Raghubir Singh Bali, voiced his discontent with the agency selection process. In an effort to scrutinize the entire tender process, he called for relevant files from the department and appointed officials to investigate. Bali subsequently penned a letter outlining the deficiencies discovered during this review and directed it to the Secretary of the Tourism Department.

In response to these concerns, the government has decided to launch a formal investigation into the matter. IAS officer Pankaj Roy, appointed as the lead investigator, is expected to submit a comprehensive fact-finding report within the next 15 days. If the investigation uncovers irregularities, the responsible officers may face disciplinary actions. Given the high-profile nature of the case, officials have refrained from commenting on the ongoing investigation.

This sudden suspension of a significant advertising tender has raised eyebrows in Himachal Pradesh and beyond, as stakeholders eagerly await the results of the investigation led by IAS officer Pankaj Roy. The findings could have far-reaching implications for the tourism department and the government’s procurement processes, underscoring the importance of transparency and integrity in such endeavours.