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Reliance goes after Fraport

The Delhi and Mumbai airports? modernisation row is growing fiercer.

india Updated: Feb 14, 2006 01:36 IST

The Delhi and Mumbai airports’ modernisation row is growing fiercer. On Monday, Reliance Airports Developers accused rival GMR groups consortium partner Fraport of having a tainted international track record which, it alleged, was concealed at the time of bidding.

On Day One of the final arguments in the Delhi High Court that lasted for two hours, senior counsel Mukul Rohtagi appearing for Reliance Industries said that GMR-Fraport made a false disclosure at the time of the bidding that the consortium was not involved in any criminal misconduct or fraud.

According to Rohtagi, GMR-Fraport was accorded the highest technical ratings by the evaluation committee based on the expertise claimed by Fraport in the construction of the Manila and Frankfurt Airports.

However, Reliance submitted in the court certain materials wherein it was claimed that the Supreme Court of Manila had annulled the contract awarded to Fraport for the construction of the Manila International Report. It was stated that the contract for Manila Airport was annulled on the allegations that Fraport was involved in various irregularities.

Similarly, it was alleged that Fraport was facing criminal proceedings with regard to the construction of the Uzbekistan airport. Rohtagi also alleged that the Chief Executive Officer of Fraport was facing criminal cases in Germany for bribery and financial misconduct.

"If you deduct their marks for Manila, the company will fall below the benchmark," said Rohtagi. Countering Reliance allegations, counsels for GMR-Fraport said that some senior officials of Reliance also have corruption charges against them and that the company too stands disqualified from the contracts if such instances are to be taken into consideration.

The Reliance counsel also said that the expert committee under Sreedharan of DMRC and Sivadasan, Financial Commissioner of Railways had no jurisdiction to apprise the bid. It alleged that the procedure adopted by them was arbitrary and their recommendations were fraud. Moreover the two can not be considered as technical experts on this issue as their expertise lies in Railways. On Reliance's request the court has also directed the Airports Authority of India to submit the copy of the report conducted by another committee prior to the Sreedharan and Sivadasan committee.

First Published: Feb 14, 2006 01:30 IST