The Supreme Court on Monday refused to stay the ongoing modernisation of 30 military airfields of the Indian Air Force, dismissing a petition filed by US-based military equipment manufacturer Selex Sistemi Integrati.
A vacation bench comprising Justices GS Singhvi and CK Prasad dismissed Selex Sistemi's petition, pleading that the contract awarded to Tata Power Company, the successful bidder, be stayed.
Earlier, on April 19, 2010, the Delhi High Court had declined to stay awarding of the contract to the Tata Group firm -- referring the matter to a larger bench.
The apex court did not agree with submissions made by Selex Sistemi, which contended that the contract was awarded to the Tata Group firm without considering due procedures.
Rejecting the petition, the apex court said that these were military modernisation programmes that could not be delayed any further. "No court in this country can pass an interim order in such (vital) cases," the court said, declining the US-based firm's request.
The government had issued an international Request For Proposal (RFP) for the modernisation of airfield infrastructure at 30 IAF airports. Following this, five firms -- including Selex Sistemi and TPC -- submitted their bids.
After verification and due process, the government later awarded the tender to the Tata Group company, though Sistemi's bid was for Rs 1,141 crore against TPC's Rs 1,094 crore.
This was challenged by Sistemi, which alleged that the whole procedure was "unfair". It further contended that TPC had left a large number of blank spaces in the bid documents, and had not "quoted for items which the bid documents had stated were mandatory".